September 3, 2019 Black Star Riders – Another State Of Grace (Album Review)
Leather jackets, long hair, tattoos, chain wallets, bad ass riffs, and songs that take you on a journey have been the underlying essence of Black Star Riders since their inception back in late 2012. Hard to believe more than six years have passed since the lads in Black Star Riders released their debut album, All Hell Breaks Loose, in the early summer of 2013.
An immediate hit, All Hell Breaks Loose perfectly describes the debut of Black Star Riders reaching No. 5 on the U.S. Heatseekers Chart and No. 2 on the U.K. Rock Chart. Even better, Black Star Riders received much deserved critical acclaim for Hell Breaks Loose and inspiring live performances. Armed with ten new tracks, Black Star Riders are pleased to announce the release of their fourth studio effort, Another State Of Grace, slated to drop on Friday, September 6th, 2019 via Nuclear Blast Records.
A tight unit, the follow-up to 2017’s Heavy Fire sees the core line-up of Black Star Riders consisting of Ricky Warwick (vocals/guitar), Scott Gorham (guitar), Robbie Crane (bass), and two new members who appear on a Black Star Riders LP for the first time, Guitarist Christian Martucci and Drummer Chad Szeliga. Another first, Black Star Riders decided to select a new producer for their next album by hiring Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Avatar,Steel Panther) who mixed the last two Black Star Riders albums, 2015’s The Killer Instinct and the previously mentioned Heavy Fire.
In formulating the songs that would become Another State Of Grace, Warwick wanted to do more than write the traditional Classic Rock sounding songs for which Black Star Riders are famous. Craving a more powerful meaning, Warwick’s intention was to write songs which are not only more lively and anthemic than usual, but more personal and political than anything Black Star Riders has ever done. When commenting on the overall outlook for Another State Of Grace, Warwick expressed: “There seems to be so much pain in the world. The people in power scare me. So this record has songs about the world around us, but also about people that come and go in your life.”
Entering Another State Of Grace, Black Star Riders begin this journey with a bang via “Tonight The Moonlight Let Me Down.” A compelling and emotive start, the listener can easily hang on to every word and every note which feel carefully chosen to deliver the intended reaction. Listeners will not be able to resist turning up the volume for the title track, as “Another State Of Grace” is a fun, fist in the air, drink in hand, fight song in the tradition of Dropkick Murphys. Not holding back on the electrifying chords, “Ain’t The End Of The World” spins an opening riff that will remind longtime Black Star Riders fans of the hit single “Bound for Glory.” As the message grows stronger, “Underneath The Afterglow” implores to not allow anything to get you down before “Soldier In The Ghetto” lends an almost funky/jazzy keyboard vibe to the album.
Clearly the heaviest message on Another State Of Grace, Black Star Riders directly take on gun laws via the poignant ballad “Why Do You Love Your Guns?” On this powerful tune, Warwick does a fine job expressing his thoughts on the social issue with lyrics like “Why do you love your guns more than the kids?” Continuing to rock, Another State Of Grace does not miss a beat with the dynamic “Standing In The Line Of Fire,” the bittersweetness of “What Will It Take?,” the escape of “In The Shadow Of the War Machine,” and notable closer “Poisoned Heart.”
Black Star Riders best album to date, Another State Of Grace is an assembly of blazing Rock songs that get you moving and vividly stir up emotions. Probably one of the more underrated bands in Modern Rock, on Another State Of Grace, Black Star Riders prove to be a band who has great, emotional Rock down to a science. With that, if the purpose of Another State Of Grace was to craft larger than life Rock songs that bring out the energy in a person while speaking frankly about major social issues and every day personal struggles, Black Star Riders has triumphantly succeeded. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Another State Of Grace 4.5 out of 5 stars.