Black Star Riders formed in 2012 with Thin Lizzy members Ricky Warwick, Scott Gorham, Damon Johnson, and Jimmy DeGrasso, ex-drummer for Alice Cooper. Their most recent member, Robbie Crane, is the ex-bassist of Ratt. Each member has had countless years of performing and together they have created the ultimate rock group. While many bands attempt to reinvent themselves under a new name, Black Star Riders appear to be taking a more musically serious route. The album is not what one would consider to be typical hard rock, but it maintains a high standard of what other musical acts should strive to achieve.
Black Star Riders’ second studio album, The Killer Instinct, is a promising compilation of tracks. While the album contains notable guitar solos, basslines, and steady drumming, there are some slight shifts in the overall tone of the songs. While “Bullet Blues” has a hard-hitting beat, there is a much softer melody that occurs in “Finest Hour.” The group has definitely maintained some versatility while recording the tracks; the tonal shifts mostly work well for them. Throughout, there’s a sense of familiarity for those of us who enjoy smooth and clear vocals accentuated by supporting instrumentation. Too often in hard rock, the vocalist is drowned out by the band’s eager playing. Frontman Ricky Warwick has superb vocals that are clear-cut and appreciable. “Blindsided” is an exemplary model of what years of experience can create. This track is perhaps the most significant on the album because the quintet’s execution is flawless.
Black Star Riders have established a certain attitude within these songs, and it’s exactly what the genre requires. The Killer Instinct will make an excellent addition to any hard rock lover’s collection.