Black Country Communion has taken off and created an intense set of albums in just a few short years. Afterglow was reviewed by Deb Hebert, the writer for The Week in Joe, as well as our own webmaster, Brian Shea. We had a lot of discussion of this band both on the website and with our readers. I listened to the record right along in pre-release and had these comments and reactions to the record:
Opening up with a riveting bullet driven riff by Bonamassa, lead by thunderous and concise drums from Bonham, this album is out to get you and get you good. Are you a crazy fan, yet? I say, the cliff has an invisible edge with this band. You're listening, you've fallen - you're in the space of the Black Country Communion.
Bonamassa tackles some psychedelic guitar, while funk fused bass directives come from Hughes. Derek Sherinian adds the glow in the 'Afterglow' with his progressive keys. The sections of these tracks is what grabs listeners, we never know what to expect.
I liked the harmonies right away, and they continue throughout the album. I think it shows a sense of solidarity and brings the range of what these men can do to the forefront.
This Is Your Time:
Reminiscent of BCC 2, a heavier tone is part of the production here. Hitting the time points with all cylinders firing is the goal of any good rock band. It has to make sense. Despite the low motion of the song, the lyrics are empowering and uplifting. The bridge brings with it a sense of and connection. Themes of movement, the station, are communicated. Can you hear Derek's subtle keying just before Joe's guitar solo?
I loved the guitar opener for this. It axes you to attention and then the whole track kicks in. Hanging on a high wire you will be, with this in your face as the song unfolds, phrase by phrase. Hooks and catchy lyrics move this rock group into the mainstream. This is rock radio friendly for sure.
I love the vocals on this song. The lyrics too, with the refrain harmonies are mythical and epic. They remind me of the staples of our classic rock bands, Triumph, The Scorpions, and Bad Company, but Black Country Communion has more instrumentation going on and complicated timing on their tracks. Joe's solos are great in this album, blended with some funk toward the end. Great song, one of my favorites on the album!
Freak flags are still flying, which is lyrically mentioned in BCC 1 in "The Great Divide." Jimi Hendrix lives. Friendships based on independence and courage endure, or at least we aspire to them. Dual vocals from Hughes and Bonamassa, make the impact that fans expect from BCC.
This title track is sublime and intense at the same time. Glenn Hughes' vocals lead with a ballad and imagery. Rockin in paradise, the soaring keys and guitars build to a great crescendo that has a Sabbath sound and pulls back to acoustics again. I love the twists and turns, you can hear the strings between the metal edges. This is life captured in its essence, this is why we listen to classic rock. Nothing held back.
While on the way to see the film, "Celebration," this track came on in my car and it had a "Ramble On" arrangement to it, in my Zeppelin mind. The combination of loud with acoustic, harmonic and slamming, was a great infusion for this record. Walking through the fire, indeed, this band has torch lighted fans to never give up on music ... or the band itself!
The first song recorded for the album, played by his Gibson Dove, Glenn Hughes belts this out with soul and commitment. He never lets up. He is the true 'soul mover' and I would LOVE to see this played live. Joe's solo is pointed and adds to the song without being self-indulgent.
Written by Jason Bonham with lyrics by Bonham and Glenn Hughes. Sounds of Rush are heard, in a contemporary issue, and BCC plays out another chapter of "Tom Sawyer." Wow, this is a supergroup take on some of the old classic forms.
Hughes offers acoustic guitar on this track. The back-beat reminded me of a Neil Young vibe, "old man look at my life, I'm a lot like you were." But the echoes on-top with the flowing guitar work, back keys and timed drums keep it in the rock form.
This was written for BCC 2 and made its way to the new album. It is the darker shadow of the Afterglow and will give BCC fans the kick they need to keep that metal edge sharp.
This third installation is a variant from the first two albums by Black Country Communion. Each one has its own personality and these are starting to express themselves among fans who have loved and followed this band since its inception. I think one thing fans agree on, WE WANT A TOUR!
For more information on Black Country Communion, visit their website. http://bccommunion.com/
Black Country Communion, Afterglow, Song Credits:
Big Train- Music and Lyrics/Glenn Hughes
This is Your Time- Music/Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian; Lyrics/John Bonham, Glenn Hughes
Midnight Sun- Music/Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian; Lyrics/Glenn Hughes
Confessor- Music and Lyrics/Glenn Hughes
Cry Freedom- Music/Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian; Lyrics/Glenn Hughes
Afterglow- Music and Lyrics/Glenn Hughes
Dandelion- Music and Lyrics/Glenn Hughes
The Circle- Music and Lyrics/Glenn Hughes
Common Man- Music/Jason Bonham; Lyrics/Jason Bonham.Glenn Hughes
The Giver- Music/Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Kevin Shirley; Lyrics/Glenn Hughes
Crawl- Music/Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, Glenn Hughes, Kevin Shirley; Lyrics/Glenn Hughes