Release Date: May 28, 2013
Record label: Nuclear Blast
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Arena Rock
Thin Lizzy guitarist and songwriter Scott Gorham spent years debating whether to record new studio material under the band's storied name. Ultimately, he decided not to out of respect for Phil Lynott's memory. Gorham, vocalist Ricky Warwick (the Almighty), drummer Jimmy DeGrasso (Alice Cooper, Megadeth), bassist Marco Mendoza (Ted Nugent, Whitesnake), and partner/guitarist Damon Johnson (Alice Cooper), are the Black Star Riders -- named for an outlaw gang in the film Tombstone.
On the one hand, it's noble of Scott Gorham to rename his Lynott-less version of Thin Lizzy for the purposes of a recording career. On the other, given that the music they make would fit snugly on to a late-70s Lizzy album – right down to singer Ricky Warwick's inflections and asides – it seems a little self-defeating. The stand-out is the most Lizzyesque song, Bound for Glory, with one of those twin lead guitar lines kicking into a riff filled with empty space: it's like 1976 all over again.
Thin Lizzy's current incarnation, led by classic-era mainstay Scott Gorham, changed its name when it came time for new music, so as not to blemish the late Phil Lynott's legacy. Ironic, then, that the best tracks on the L.A. quintet's debut LP scan the most Lizzy-like. Some songs truck in hard rock so generic it should be barcoded, but when Gorham cranks his signature guitar style and Ricky Warwick channels the fallen bandleader's bark on "Hey Judas," "Someday Salvation," and "Bound For Glory," the ghost of Lynott raises a pint.