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As a massive fan of Joe Bonamassa I was really intrigued when he started a band as a side project to his solo material. Black Country Communion are that band and consist of Bonamassa along with Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian. The band was formed in 2010 when Bonammasa and Hughes having recorded together decided to form a band and producer Kevin Shirley brought in drummer Jason Bonham (son of legendary Led Zep drummer John Bonham) and as Joe Bonamassa preferred a foursome rather than a power trio they brought in the former Dream Theater keyboard player, Derek Sherinian. The band takes it's name from the English industrial area where both Hughes and Bonham hail. Although the band were forced to change their name due to another band already using that name so they added the Communion.
Glenn Hughes - vocals, bass
Joe Bonamassa - guitars, vocals
Jason Bonham - drums, percussion
Derek Sherinian - keyboards
**Black Country Communion**
The album was recorded very quickly, taking between January and April 2010 to complete. The album was recorded at Shangri La Studios in Los Angeles, California. The music on offer is of the gritty Hard rock & Blues-rock variety. The album has been very well received by critics for it's blend of old style Hard Rock and new twist. Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa take on the share of lead vocals with Hughes known as the lead singer of the band. The album was produced and mixed by long time Joe Bonamassa producer Kevin Shirley who had also worked with the other members of the band.
1.) Black Country
This track opens the album with a gritty Hard Rock track, opening with a melodic bass hook from Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa's guitar soon comes in with a catchy rock melody. Hughes' vocals are very strong and the musicianship is clear. This track gets things off to a very catchy start with some excellent vocals and when Joe Bonamassa lets loose with the guitar it tops off the track really well with a Hard Rock/Metal shredder of a solo and there's some bluesy playing towards the end too. Superb stuff which should prick your ears up for what's coming on the album.
2.) One Last Soul
This track opens with some drumming from Bonham and then the power riffs from Hughes and Bonamassa come in. This is a very catchy track which reminds me a little of Dream Theater musically, You hear the influence of Derek Sherinian on this track with some excellent keyboard tones which aren't out of place on this gritty Hard Rock track. Hughes proves his vocals are excellent and he's more than capable of leading the band with his vocals. The track progresses well and features some superb guitar playing Joe Bonamassa which really completes the overall feel.
3.) The Great Divide
This is another great track, It features some catchy riffs from Hughes and Bonamassa and has a more mellow feel than the previous two tracks. Hughes' vocals show great range with rapid changes in speed and tone of delivery. It has a great structure and the typical Joe Bonamassa progression from mellow guitar melodies to all out solos. This track is one of the great examples of how well they perform together with some excellent bass and drum integration. Superb stuff.
4.) Down Again
This has a dark feel, more akin to Glenn Hughes' time in Black Sabbath. his vocals are strong and the excellent guitar and bass really build well with the drums from Jason Bonham. This track was written by Hughes, Bonamassa and Sherinian and is one of the catchiest on the album with some great progression and the solo from Joe Bonamassa towards the end is absolutely superb and hints at more great guitar playing to come. The longest track on the album so far. The track Features some excellent keyboard tones at the end.
The track opens with a bit of Hendrix-esque guitar riffery from Joe Bonamassa and then once the other instruments come in this is a very catchy melodic affair. Hughes' vocals are more laid back yet still having moments of some great soaring power vocals. The track is the one of three solely written by Glenn Hughes. If someone asked you what Black Country Communion were like you might play them this to show the slab of melodic Hard Rock. The Superb guitar solo from Joe Bonamassa towards the end really tops off the track.
6.) Song Of Yesterday
This is one of my favourite Black Country Communion tracks so far. It's a sumptuous ballad with vocals from Joe Bonamassa who is a more than capable vocalist himself. I love the keyboards from Sherinian here as it gives a great effect. I love the way the song builds and then the riffs come in. There are some stunning backing vocals and then Hughes also takes on some lead vocals. The melodies leave you waiting for the stunning solo from Bonamassa which really tops things off perfectly with power, poise and grace. The backing of Bonham, Hughes and Sherinian is perfect. Over eight minutes of almost musical perfection.
7.) No Time
Back to the fast pace up tempo stuff now with a bang. Hughes back on vocal duty here and the backing vocal effect works well with some stop-start rhythms from the band. This track is the second of three solely written by Glenn Hughes and it's another excellent track. It features a fantastic orchestral break which comes out of the blue really and which really makes the track take on another identity. Another excellent track.
This is an interesting cover version of a song which Glenn Hughes wrote in his time with the band "Trapeze". Bonamassa used the exact guitar on this track which featured in the original played by Mel Galley. This is an excellent cover version and has the same Hard Rock feel of much of the album and the original track. Bonamassa and Hughes both give some killer riffs and Bonham and Sherinian also provide some great musicianship. This is a great track which features an outstanding guitar solo from Joe Bonamassa.
9.) Revolution in Me
This has a dark repetitive feel thanks to the riffs to open the track, Joe Bonamassa takes on vocal duty on this one and again provides some excellent vocals. The lyrics were written solely by Bonamassa and the music was co written with Derek Sherinian who shows off some excellent keyboard parts that build the sound beautifully with Joe Bonamassa soon exploding into an excellent guitar solo. This is an excellent track which shows the all round ability of the band.
10.) Stand (At the burning tree)
This is another excellent track which opens with some classic riffs and then builds wonderfully. There's some great keyboard work from Derek Sherinian here in several parts throughout. Glenn Hughes takes on lead vocals on this one and really shines with some powerful. Joe Bonamassa tops off the overall feel of this track with some superb guitar work. The track is a Hughes and Bonamassa collaboration which really works well and is amongst the best on the album.
11.) Sista Jane
This is another excellent track, It's another Bonamassa and Hughes collaboration and they share the lead vocal duty on this one. Opening with some catchy riffs and taut drumming this track moves along well and the soaring powerful vocals from both Hughes and Bonamassa add to the overall feel. This is an excellent collaboration between the two and has some superb moments from Bonamassa on guitar and the drumming from Bonham and keyboard playing from Sherinian is also very good indeed. A great track.
12.) Too late for the sun
Here is the final track on the album and it's a fabulous closer. The gritty vocals from Bonamassa are joined by a catchy drum beat from Jason Bonham and bass hook from Glenn Hughes, The backing keyboards come in from Sherinian and compliment the other instruments. This is the only track on the album which features writing credits from all four members and also the producer Kevin Shirley. It just over 11 minutes long it's comfortably the longest on the album. The track builds wonderfully and despite the length never seems boring.
It's Remarkable how little time it took to get this band together and record such an album. Joe Bonamassa is one of the finest guitarists around at the moment and Glenn Hughes, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham also prove themselves to be very capable musicians. This is a fine album which hints at what the band are capable of with a bit more time together. I requested the album on here as I really wanted to share my favourite new band to fellow dooyooers. If you like Joe Bonamassa or are a fan of Hard Rock and Blues Rock then give this a go. In my opinion it is a superb album. Check out my next review which will be of the second Black Country Communion album which was released in 2011.