Black Country Communion defied all the odds last year with their debut release, an album which I voted my album of the year.
Just a year later the band are back with their second album simply titled '2' (isn't it a pleasure that a band has used a numeric number rather than a Roman numeral for once?)
After a few listens it's safe to say that this is the perfect companion to the debut. Once again produced by the 'fifth' member Kevin Shirley, a man who knows how to get the best results out of who he's working with.
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Glenn Hughes has taken a larger role this time in the song writing duties. Like the debut the album opens up with a belter. 'The Outsider' blasts you into submission where all the band make their mark, just like the way Deep Purple did with 'Highway Star', all four band members going at full tilt and you can actually hear Derek Sherinian's keyboard work to the max this time around.
'Man In The Middle' is a thumping teethgrinder which will make the next door neighbours prized plate collection fall from the walls. Joe Bonamassa takes over the vocals for 'The Battle For Hadrian's Wall' a track which starts off with a Zeppelin-ish acoustic intro and builds into a picturesque beauty.
Bonamassa sings again on 'An Ordinary Man', with ease in a Paul Rodgers style, and I havn't even mentioned his guitar playing yet.
'Save Me' is a track submitted by drummer Jason Bonham and was orignally worked on by himself, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones after the Led Zep reformation but was never finished because someone forgot to water the Plant, but thankfully this flower has fully blossomed when looked after by the Communion.
'Smokestack Woman' is pure Seventies Classic Rock bliss. On 'I Can See Your Spirit' the band has captured the 'Misty Mountain Hop' buzzing drumming sound which makes the speakers bounce.
Bonamassa digs deep into the blues on 'Little Secret', which is perfect for those late night smoking hours when you're drowning your sorrows into the bottom of an empty bottle.
Hughes bleeds his heart out on the last track 'Cold'. Chilling stuff. I haven't mentioned two numbers, 'Faithless' and 'Crossfire' but heck!, check them out for yourself.
Do I really need to tell you how magnificent these four musicians are?
Who needs a Led Zeppelin reformation when the music is this good. This is all killer, no filler.
It looks like Black Country Communion will be getting my vote second year running for album of the year.
'2' is released on Monday 13th June on the UK and Tuesday 14th June in the USA.
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