Black Country Communion album Review “V,”

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 Review By Dave Martin

Supergroup Black Country Communion was formed in 2009 and comprises guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa who also lends backing vocals, Glenn Hughes on lead vocals and bass, keys player Derek Sherinian and drummer Jason Bonham. The Californian based hard rock group have released 5 studio albums since 2010. Their latest album “V” released this year, follows on from their previous record “IV” 7 years ago.

The group have ties to Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and their sound is described as blues rock and hard rock. “V” is a ten-track release that has been described as a tribute to late Free guitarist Paul Kossoff.   
The lead single “Enlighten” was released in May and teased the bands homage to 70s rock starting with classic heavy guitar riffs before giving way to Hughes more euphoric vocals. The track alternates the guitar riffs with vocals underpinned by tight drumming from Bonham.
The second track “Stay Free” is the funkiest offering on this album possibly of all Black Country Communion and the combination of keyboards, heavy riffs and drums work well below Hughes’ vocals.

“Red Sun” starts with classic heavy rock riffs and is probably my favourite track on the LP. It is very start and stop in nature and the guitar solo is very reminiscent of Jimmy Page.
“Relentless” has a very blues mood created by Bonamassa’s intro guitars and further augmented by Hughes’ vocal stylings. The guitar acts like a second vocal melody and supplies a real ballad feel to the track. The impassioned singing is only enhanced by the guitar solo at the four-minute mark giving the listener a very emotive experience.
The fifth song “Letting go”, the shortest track of the ten, has a more upbeat tempo than its predecessor. It has a catchy chorus and a great guitar solo. There is a great deal of building and pausing as the different instruments interweave well.
At the halfway stage of the record the moves into the Zepplin-esque “Skyway” whose riff works well with the organ. The song’s elements include controlled vocals and a relaxed guitar solo and clean drumming.
“You’re not alone” is another track with a heavy guitar riff starter which continues to underpin the whole track. Bonham’s effective use of cymbals accents the song in parks and helps add the contrast to the different sections.
“Love and Faith” commences differently to its forerunners with ghostly keyboards before moving to the customary guitar work. The first fifth of the song is pure instrumental work which helps add weight to the vocals and makes them more effective when they join in.
“Too Far Gone” is another up-tempo submission whose guitars feel inspired by Angus Young. The effect on the guitar solo is a break from the band’s usual sound and as with the rest of the album the vocals compliment the guitar work and the bass section.
The final track ”The Open Road” has a slight country and funky feel and is the largest tribute to Kossoff with some similarities to the track “Mr Big”.
All in all the album intertwines the key aspects of 70s rock as you would expect from these legends and takes you back to a bygone era. The songs are well crafted and this is the best constructed work to date. Fans of the supergroup will not be disappointed.  
Stay Free
Red Sun
Letting Go
You’re Not Alone
Love And Faith
Too Far Gone
The Open Road

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