Black Swan – Shake The World (Album Review)

An electrifying new project, Black Swan are a Hard Rock band initially formed by ex-Dokken, current Foreigner, and The End Machine Bassist Jeff Pilson alongside Vocalist Robin McAuley of the McAuley Schenker Group. Together, Pilson and McAuley joined forces with guitar virtuoso Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake) and Drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big) to form the musically potent Black Swan. That in mind, Black Swan will be releasing their debut album entitled Shake The World on Friday, February 14th, 2020, via Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Individually, Black Swan consists of some of the best and maybe more underrated names to pick up an instrument or sing a note. One of the best singers out there, McAuley is, as mentioned earlier, best known as a long time member of the McAuley Schenker Group working side by side with guitar master Michael Schenker. A man who should be constantly recognized for his amazing work on the guitar, Reb Beach has been slaying hit after hit as a member of Winger for over thirty years and has been a staple in Whitesnake for the last eighteen years. A long time member of hit-makers Foreigner, Jeff Pilson is one of the best and most consistent rhythm men out there and he lends nothing less to Black Swan. A veteran of the drum kit, Matt Starr has been a member of former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley’s solo band since 2012 and Starr also joined Mr. Big following the untimely death of Drummer Pat Torpey in 2018.

At heart, all four members of Black Swan contribute their own musical talents which have all come together to formulate these eleven new tracks of bursting Hard Rock. In Pilson’s own words regarding Shake The World, the veteran bassist comments: It’s amazing, incredible music. Wait until you hear everybody’s playing and singing. It’s beyond — way beyond. 

Ready to take this all in, Shake The World leads with the eponymous title track that kicks this LP off in big rocker fashion. A strong statement, here we see McAuley resonate the words “Shake The World!” with his calm but highly effective vocals amongst the Hard Rock purists tearing it up beside him. Keeping things interesting, “Big Disaster” and “Johnny Came Marching” amp up the catchy feel of the music as “Immortal Souls” stands out thanks to a compelling energy and a story of reuniting.

In Black Swan’s first shot at ballad wonder, “Make It There” is right in McAuley’s wheelhouse showing off the mans prime vocal strengths. In your face, “She’s On To Us” is full of rapid fire guitar nuances a listener can really sink their ears into and then “The Rock That Rolled Away” is both electric and lively. Continuing on, Shake The World refuses to slow down as stated by the catchy potency of “Long Road To Nowhere” and cherished emotion by “Sacred Place.” Lastly, “Unless We Change” and the ballad to rocker “Divided/United” offer a nice close to Shake The World.

Four uniquely talented artists, the debut of Black Swan is one that will impress Hard Rock fans young and old. A voice that should be heard more often, McAuley’s incredible vocal chords lend a new and vivacious effect to the music performed by Beach, Pilson, and Starr far removed from any Whitesnake, Foreigner, or Ace Frehley record. Rhythmically, Pilson and Starr give Black Swan the tight backbone they need and Beach’s extreme versatility and dynamism just makes everything better. Some great new music to check out, Cryptic Rock awards Shake The World 5 out of 5 stars.

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