Black Country Communion – Afterglow

Black Country Communion release their third album at a time that rumours are rife that the band may split in the near future, with Glenn Hughes wanting to tour more and Joe Bonamassa wanting to spend the time on his solo career instead.  How much truth their is in these rumours remains to be seen, so this album could be the latest in a long line of releases or it could be their swan song.

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years with no Internet, TV or radio, Black Country Communion are a “supergroup” (and one of the few that actually deserves that tag), consisting of Blues/rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze), Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin, Foreigner) and Derek Sherinian (Dream Theatre, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol).  That’s an impressive lineup, but for them to really deserve the supergroup label then you need more than just talented musicians – they have to fit together properly as a band and to have good material.  Happily that’s the case with Black Country Communion.

As with the first two albums, Afterglow has been produced by Kevin Shirley, who as well as working on Joe Bonamassa’s albums has also produced albums for Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Journey and many more.

The last two albums were both successful and notched up great reviews, so expectations are high for the new album.

Brief comments on a few of the tracks..

The album starts with “Big Train” with short bursts of drums and guitar that really make you sit up and take notice before the keyboards and vocals kick in.  The keyboards have a real 1970s rock music feel reminiscent of the Hammond Organ sound of Deep Purple, or the keyboards from The Who (tracks like “Won’t get fooled again” in particular).

“This is your time” is a track with a slightly more laid back feel to it but with a big chorus “This Is Your time, it’s in your hands, This Is Your time, to make your stand.”

“Midnight sun” opens with a real “The Who” sound – you could easily imagine that opening leading into a song by The Who.

“Cry Freedom” is the only track where Glenn Hughes shares vocal duties, with Joe Bonamassa joining him.  There’s a nice guitar solo from Bonamassa too, but as with everything in this album it doesn’t feel like someone indulging their ego – it really does feel that there needs to be a guitar solo in that spot to make the song perfect and that’s why it’s there.  Sadly too many bands seem to add unnecessary guitar solos that actually detract from the overall song, whereas here the guitar solo enhances the overall song.

“Crawl” is the last track on the album and is a song that was originally intended to be on the second album, but was dropped due to space constraints.  Happily they didn’t scrap the song and instead kept it to use on this album as a song this good is just too good to be wasted.

There may be a few bands around at the moment with a 70’s sound (Rival Sons for instance) but Black Country Communion do it better than anyone – Glenn Hughes’s voice and those Hammond organ sounding keyboards in particular give the album a 70’s era Deep Purple feel to it, and Joe Bonamassa’s Blues background adds a bit of extra depth and variety to it.

Highly recommended

Afterglow will be released on 29th October 2012.

Rating 10/10

Track listing:

1. Big train
2. This is your time
3. Midnight sun
4. Confessor
5. Cry freedom
6. Afterglow
7. Dandelion
8. The circle
9. Common man
10. The giver
11. Crawl

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.