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Black Country Communion - 'BCCIV' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/91/5b/f3/black-country-communion-BCCIV-7-1512681646.jpg Hot

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Black Country Communion haven't raised the bar for this sort of music... they are the bar.

Comprising of Glenn Hughes, guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham on drums and keyboard player Derek Sherinian, with producer Kevin Shirley overseeing everything, Black Country Communion attracted the super-group tag when they released their debut album in 2010. It charted highly in the UK, with 'II' coming just nine months later to tie in with their European tour. In 2012 'Afterglow' made its appearance but cracks were starting to show, as Bonamassa's involvement was limited, with Hughes picking up the slack and writing the bulk of the album and handling the promo for it himself.

Shortly after that, a solitary date was announced, being cancelled shortly after, and the band fizzled out, with Bonamassa returning to his packed solo schedule, while Hughes formed a new band, California Breed, taking Bonham with him. The good news is Bonamassa reached out to Hughes shortly after the singer was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and proposed a fourth effort. Hughes agreed and Bonamassa stayed at Hughes' home for eleven days, contributing heavily to the writing.

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That decision has paid dividends because, for me, this is the band's most well-rounded release yet. Opening with the powerful 'Collide', with Led Zeppelin-like keyboards and a killer riff, everything just clicks into place. 'Over My Head' has the same commercial appeal as 'One Last Soul', while Bonamassa weighs in with the truly brilliant 'The Last Song For My Resting Place', written about Wallace Hartley who continued to play his violin as the Titanic sank; the mandolin intro and Bonamassa's haunting vocal are magnificent, as is Shirley's decision to have a real fiddler play before the monstrous Rock middle-section explodes.

'Sway' is classic Black Country Communion and Hughes' 'The Cove' carries a dark and foreboding vibe. Sherinian's piano work on 'Wanderlust' is a joy, whereas 'The Crow' has a break where Hughes riffs on the bass, followed by Sherinian's Deep Purple-like Hammond Organ flurry meeting a blistering guitar solo from Bonamassa – it's a real example of what a great Rock band this is.

While most people rated the first album as their best, I thought they got progressively better, and 'BCCIV' continues that trend. The balance between Hughes and Bonamassa's input is perfect, creating the sort of Classic Rock few bands are capable of nowadays – Black Country Communion haven't raised the bar for this sort of music... they are the bar!

James Gaden

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