Black Star Riders – The Killer Instinct (Deluxe Edition)

Black Star Riders
The Killer Instinct
Hard Rock
Released: 20th February 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

So the second record from the old school rockers is here – “The Killer Instinct”, released on the 20th February 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records, is the follow up to 2013’s “All Hell Breaks Loose”. The album is produced by Nick Raskulinecz, and recording took place in Nashville, Tennessee in September 2014. This is also the first BSR album to feature bassist Robbie Crane. The first single to be released from the album is the title track, “The Killer Instinct”.

The album is a refreshing change of pace from the first album, and it doesn’t seem to be as hastily put together. There is a lot of really nice tunes that are just easy to listen to. I wasn’t to keen on the production style of the first album, but here I think everything works, each song flows nicely in to the next and it’s just a really pleasant experience to hear. The riffs are tight and solos are easy on the ear. The music more emcompasses your head rather than penetrating your hearing. I just get lost in the sounds that this album makes. I bet this would sound amazing on vinyl.

I can’t really fault this record. The only thing I can think of is that, it’s a bit too familiar to older rock n roll, and all it does is remind you of all the bands that have been before. Not that this is really a bad thing, but it can be distracting if you are coming in to this record expecting something fresh and new. Also, some of the riff and solo choices seem a little lazy, but a few bad moments, not even songs, doesn’t spoil this for me. Genuinely all this paragraph was my nitpicking, not actual problems.

I have to say, if I were to recommend songs to sell you this album, the first would have to be “Finest Hour”. This is just a great upbeat rock tune that makes me smile everytime I listen to it.  It has a solid riff and a really catchy chorus. Also I’m really feeling the tune “Sex, Guns & Gasoline”, again a great little riff and it’s got a funky rhythm and again it’s really quite catchy. Also, since I got the “Deluxe Edition”, there are some really nice acoustic renditions of the songs on the album. “The Killer Instinct (Acoustic)” is actually better than the electric version, in my opinion.

In summary, this is a fantastic rock record that I don’t really have anything against. It’s better than the first album, full of great riffs and solos, it’s catchy and fun. Also I recommend getting the “Deluxe Edition” to get all of the bonus content, because the acoustic reworking is really nice. This has been my favourite album of the year so far!!

5/5

Mick Birchall

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