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Album Review:Black Star Riders – Wrong Side Of Paradise

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Review by Paddy Gallagher for MPM

In an era with an abundance of sub genres with every mood and emotion catered for from Doom to Stoner to Sludge to Death to Black to Progressive to Symphonic and everything else in between, isn’t in nice that sometimes there are new releases playing straight down the middle with a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, guitar solo, chorus structure allowing the listener to kick back, crack open a beer, vino, sparkling spring water and relax without having to concentrate too hard!! 10 years into their career as The Black Star Riders, “Wrong Side of Paradise” blasts forth from your speakers / headphones in a refreshing, purely straight ahead bluesy Heavy Rock way.

Opener and title track “Wrong Side of Paradise” opens with Lizzy tinged riffage that immediately sets out the next hour for any uninitiated, letting them know what’s in store. As some heavily made up and moused chaps from LA once said, “Nothing But A Good Time”.

The clap along chorus in “Better Than Saturday Night” and the whole vibe of the song surely consigns it to future classic status and a mainstay of future BSR setlists. As should “Don’t Let The World (Get in The Way)” and the excellent “Green and Troubled Land”.

Guitars are nice and clear in the mix with imaginative riffage showing full well that Ricky and the boys aren’t going through the motions.

The dualling lead guitars, so reminiscent of Thin Lizzy and early BSR, perhaps deliberately dialled back to a degree emphasising the first BSR album without Scott Gorham. Gritty, street wise feels in a classic rock way but also inspired, don’t come here if you are looking for old ground being rehashed.

With the previous Irish Traditional influences also dialled back somewhat, on this the first BSR album for new label Earache Records, it’s refreshing to hear the conscious effort to stamp BSR’s own identity on proceedings.

Ricky Warwick’s voice often reminding of Philo but also reminiscent of by-gone days listening to The Almighty for those of us old enough to remember buying albums before the internet.

The tempo slows ever so slightly for “Riding Out The Storm” and note the namecheck to Ricky’s old stomping grounds of Belfast and Glasgow in “Pay Dirt”. “This Life Will Be The Death of Me” is a fine way to close the album with some rather tasty lead guitar work, and a melody that stays in the head long after the song and album has finished.

This is a no bullshit, straight ahead Heavy Rock album, one that will sit well in any record collection. Do yourself a favour and add it to yours.

Wrong Side Of Paradise Track-list

  1. Wrong Side Of Paradise
  2. Hustle
  3. Better Than Saturday Night
  4. Riding Out The Storm
  5. Pay Dirt
  6. Catch Yourself On
  7. Crazy Horses
  8. Burning Rome
  9. Don’t Let The World (Get In The Way)
  10. Green And Troubled Land
  11. This Life Will Be The Death Of Me
  12. Cut ‘n’ Run (Bonus Editions Only)
  13. Suspicious Times (Bonus Editions Only)

The band’s UK tour in February 2023, a special 10th anniversary run of dates, as well as their headline sets at Planet Rockstock and Earache Records’ 35 Years Of Noise party, see the band welcome back guitarist Scott Gorham and original drummer Jimmy DeGrasso for the celebrations.

Tickets are on sale now from https://myticket.co.uk
Special Guests Michael Monroe and Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons on all shows except Belfast where Trucker Diablo open.

Black Star Riders are:
Ricky Warwick (Lead Vocals/Guitar), 
Sam Wood (Guitar), 
Robert Crane (Bass Guitar)
Zak St. John (Drums)
 Follow BSR on:
Website |Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | YouTube

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