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Music Review: Black Country Communion ‘2’
Obi-Dan   |  

Black Country Communion
J&R Adventures
Produced by Kevin Shirley
Released June 14, 2011 U.S.: CD | MP3
June 13, 2011 UK: CD| MP3

Rock supergroups are often a collaboration amongst musicians when one or more of their respective bands goes belly up. Sometimes, however, they are formed when musicians are taking time away from being awesome in their “˜day job’ to be awesome elsewhere. This brings us to Black Country Communion, a supergroup made up of Glenn Hughes ( “˜the voice of rock’ of Deep Purple fame), Jason Bonham (son of late Led Zeppelin drummer), Derek Sherinian (formerly of Dream Theater), and the new blues king, Joe Bonamassa.

As much of a fan as I am on Glenn Hughes — Deep Purple’s Burn is without question one of the greatest rock albums of all time and You Are The Music”¦We’re Just The Band by his first band Trapeze is one of the most underrated albums of the ’70s — it was the inclusion of guitarist Joe Bonamassa which really piqued my interest in this band. For me, Bonamassa is one of the most exciting and talented blues rock musicians alive. His solo albums demonstrate his great talent in fusing traditional blues with the sheer power and sometimes frightening speed of rock; something which makes blues music more interesting and, quite frankly, cooler. He brings all this and more to the BCC table and to its second album, simply titled 2.

The album gets off to an astonishingly powerful start in “The Outsider,” blaring rock resplendent with its guitar and keyboard solos and Hughes’ famously searing voice. The Led Zeppelin-heir charges aimed at the band are sometimes uncalled for, yet tracks like the epic “Save Me” only add fuel to this particular hypothetical fire. Further to this, Jason Bonham pounds on those drums in the way that only his old man could. Just as Jon Lord did with Deep Purple and Whitesnake, keyboardist Derek Sherinian adds just the right amount of atmosphere of life and texture in the gaps the others miss.

Hughes’ trademark howl is plentiful, but his beautifully pained delivery on the stunning blues number “Little Secret” and the orchestral “Cold” is a sound to behold. Here, Bonamassa’s guitar sounds like the late Gary Moore when he was at his most inspired. Bonamassa is not a shredding-type guitar player. His solos and playing in general is so genuinely soulful he elicits astonishing mastery.

The songs written by Hughes have a more immediate, relentless groove and rhythm, which is understandable considering his background. The tracks written by Bonamassa, the other powerfully gifted songwriter in the band, are built upon his greatest strengths: blues and ballads. They are both experts in both fields and work well together on the album.

While this is undoubtedly a very good rock album, the one key element that prevents it from being “˜great’ is that the whole middle section of songs are just too long and bloated. They strive to be epics but to me they were too long and I sat waiting for the next great song, something which the likes of “The Battle For Hadrian’s Wall” previously led me to believe was an inevitability. This pattern of indulgence is obliterated by “I Can See Your Spirit,” a charging track again with great solos by Bonamassa and Sherinian.

It could be argued that releasing a second album in only 9 months is overkill. However, I say if the band is on this much of a hot streak, then it should keep going. I’m not getting sick of them, I’m looking forward to hearing more.

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