Black Country Communion V Album Review

Black Country Communion V Review: Joe Bonamassa’s Tribute to Paul Kossoff? | Funky, Soulful Rock

This is the bands fifth album, aptly titled “V.” This supergroup, featuring Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian, and Jason Bonham, has delivered yet another powerhouse rock album.

When I first played “V,” I was impressed but cautious. My initial notes suggested that the band was comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, in their skin. It felt like they weren’t pushing boundaries or trying to reinvent the wheel. However, after several listens, both as background music and through dedicated sessions, I started to truly appreciate the nuances and craftsmanship of this album.

Glenn Hughes: Known as “The Voice of Rock,” Glenn Hughes continues to amaze with his powerful vocals. Despite his age, he effortlessly hits high notes without detuning or rearranging songs. His soulful and emotive performance is a highlight throughout the album.

Joe Bonamassa: One of the best guitarists of his generation, Joe Bonamassa brings a mix of technical proficiency and deep feeling to his playing. His guitar work on this album, especially on the final track “The Open Road,” channels Paul Kossoff from Free, creating a touching homage to the late guitarist.

Derek Sherinian: The former Dream Theater keyboardist adds a rich layer of texture to the album. While he often plays a supportive role, on “V,” his contributions are more prominent, enhancing the overall soundscape.

Jason Bonham: The son of the legendary John Bonham, Jason’s drumming pays homage to Led Zeppelin while carving out his own distinct style. His performance on this album is both powerful and nuanced.

Track-by-Track Review

The album opens with “Enlighten,” featuring Led Zeppelin-esque drums and a stop-start riff. Glenn Hughes delivers a soulful and restrained vocal performance, complemented by Joe Bonamassa’s slide guitar solo. The track has a great chorus and a catchy riff, ending with a touch of Hammond organ.

Stay Free
One of my favorites, “Stay Free,” is the funkiest track Black Country Communion has ever done. It’s reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Trampled Under Foot,” with its electric keyboard sound and heavy chords. The chorus is rock-solid, and the song has a fantastic groove with a heavy ending.

Red Sun
“Red Sun” features a slow, mid-paced riff with a stop-start pattern. The vocals and riffs interplay beautifully, creating a dynamic and uncluttered arrangement. The guitar solo here reminds me of Jimmy Page’s tone from Led Zeppelin’s “Presence” album.

“Restless” starts with a slow blues intro, featuring a gentle keyboard and heartfelt guitar solo. It evolves into a powerful power ballad with a fantastic guitar solo towards the end. Another standout track on the album.

Letting Go
This track features a hard rock riff with a great chorus. It’s a steady rock song that grows on you with repeated listens.

“Skyway” has another Zeppelin-type riff with a ground swell of organ. The song features restrained vocals and a laid-back solo section, making it a great mid-paced rock song.

You’re Not Alone
This track has a walking riff and a funky offbeat feel. The spiritual overtones in the lyrics add depth, and the song features lots of keyboard runs and a heavy solo towards the end.

Love and Faith
“Love and Faith” starts with anthemic keyboards and a Zeppelin mid-paced riff. Joe Bonamassa takes the lead vocals, while Glenn Hughes adds soulful harmonies. The track ends with an ethereal keyboard sound reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.”

Too Far Gone
“Too Far Gone” is a fast-paced rocker with keyboards in the background. The riff has an ACDC-like feel, and Glenn Hughes delivers an epic vocal performance.

The Open Road
The album closes with “The Open Road,” a funky rock track that shifts into a heartfelt solo by Joe Bonamassa. His playing on this track channels Paul Kossoff from Free’s “Mr. Big,” creating a moving homage to the legendary guitarist. The song then returns to the funky rock riff from the start, bringing the album full circle.

“V” by Black Country Communion is a fantastic album that showcases the band’s ability to blend influences while maintaining their unique sound. The musicians exhibit remarkable restraint, allowing the strength of the songs to shine both musically and lyrically. This album is a must-have for fans of the band and anyone who appreciates well-crafted rock music.

Glenn Hughes: Vocals, Bass
Joe Bonamassa: Guitar, Vocals
Derek Sherinian: Keyboards
Jason Bonham: Drums

Background: Black Country Communion is a supergroup formed in 2009, bringing together some of the most talented musicians in rock. Their music blends hard rock, blues, and progressive rock, drawing influences from bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Free.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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