Black Country Communion | BCCIV
Black Country Communion’s comeback album begins with the sound of musicians tuning up. Someone counts them in and they launch into a riff that could only come from the home of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest.
The message is clear: ‘BCCIV’ is the work of a real band, its four members playing with all the give and take that comes from performing live in a room together. But this is no ragged jam session put to tape. For all the natural spontaneity and raw power of the performances, it’s ultimately about the songs. And this time co-writers Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa have crafted the supergroup’s most consistently excellent collection of songs yet.
There are the hard rockers with the bone-crunching riffs, like gut-punching opener ‘Collide’, hard-hitting ‘Sway’, dark-as-coal ‘The Crow’, and rip-roaring ‘Awake’ with its frenzied guitar and organ interplay.
There are the melodic anthems with soaring choruses, like high-speed chase ‘Over My Head’, the technicolor widescreen adventure that is eight-minute roadtrip ‘Wanderlust’, and the deeply touching, almost angelic ‘Love Remains’.
And there are the epics, like the steadfastly menacing indictment of dolphin slavery ‘The Cove’, far-reaching finale ‘When The Morning Comes’ (complete with sublime instrumental breaks from guitarist Bonamassa and keyboard player Derek Sherinian especially), and the simply titanic ‘Last Song For My Resting Place’.
The majesty of these songs is only further amplified by the vigour, passion, and virtuosity with which they’re delivered – and captured. For the first time in the band’s history, producer Kevin Shirley has truly captured and unified the full might of Jason Bonham’s drumming, the dexterity of Sherinian’s piano playing in particular, the weight of Bonamassa’s riffing and fluidity of his soloing, and the almost incomprehensible range of Hughes’ towering vocals.
“When you come back after three big-selling records, you’ve got to be prepared.,” the singer and equally talented bassist explained late last year when the return of Black Country Communion was first mooted. “I think every album I do has got to be topnotch songwriting wise, and Joe and I are putting our heads together more so on this than ever before. So there’s a lot of time and effort going into it. We’re really, really excited by it.”
Almost a year later, that time, effort, and excitement is palpable in every second of ‘BCCIV’.