Wrong Side of Paradise is actually the second Black Star Riders album I share with you on Flyctory.com In September 2019, I featured Another State of Grace. Now, on 20th January 2023, the US hard rockers are back with eleven new tracks. Here is my review.
Black Star Riders – About The Artists
Quite a lot has happened to the Black Star Riders since their previous album in 2019. The most obvious change is that there are two new members apart from lead Ricky Warwick (vocals and guitars) and Robbie Crane (bass): Sam Wood joined the Black Star Riders as a guitarist in 2022, while Zak St. John, the new drummer, has been added to the lineup the year before. Similar to the albums before, the Black Star Riders have been more popular in Europe with Another State of Grace than in their US home. The album was Top 30 in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. You can find additional band bio in its Flyctory.com review. Wrong Side of Paradise is thus the fifth Black Star Riders album overall.
Black Star Riders – Wrong Side of Paradise – Track by Track
The eleven song album lasts 41 minutes.
1. Wrong Side of Paradise
The opening title track comes with a typical BSR sound: guitar-driven hard rock with a nice, clear groove. You know what you get when you listen to these guys – even after they replaced half of the band. The chorus has a nice melody. Very nice listen.
Hustle is a bit slower, but also feels more massive than the opener. The harmonica souds leads to a Southern rock touch and reminds of some Tom Petty recordings. Stomping groove, marching straight forward. The chorus cannot fully keep up with that in my point of view.
3. Better Than Saturday Night
Better Than Saturday Night has been the first appetizer for Black Star Riders fans. Indeed, the third track is one of the album’s highlights. The song is a very catching and straight rock recording. Still not as good as the very first songs of the band, but a really nice listen.
4. Riding Out the Storm
The fourth track feels a bit more gentle. Bassist Robbie Crane has qute some presence in this song as well and conrtols the groove of the song. Especially around the chorus, the song is beautifully arranged.
5. Pay Dirt
Ricky Warwick and his bandmates perform one of the most angry and most rocking songs of the album there. Zak St. John has to hammer his drumsticks into the drumheads steadily, the lead vocalist is singing and shouting the Black Star Riders to high hard rock speheres. Very interesting listen.
6. Catch Yourself On
Even though this song is surrounded by songs picked for single releases, I have to state that Catch Yourself On is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It might come with rather simple structures, but I feel it is a great stadium rocker which quickly stays in your mind. Glad to feel that these guys still can do it.
7. Crazy Horses
The Crazy Horses incept with screaming guitars and powerful riffs. The last song which has already been shared with the fans is rather short (2:25 minutes), but definitely leaves a mark with its striking energy.
8. Burning Rome
I’m coming home and I’m burning Rome – not sure of they like this kind of music over there in Italy? The song has a nice blues-ish vibe. The laid back sound adds a nice alternative style to the release.
9. Don’t Let the World (Get in the Way)
The fast ninth song is one of these hidden gems of the album, whcih might not be obvious top choices in the first listen. I guess that BSR and their fans will party this one, when the band is heading to a U.K. Tour in February 2023 – unfortunately, the dates don’t match for me with my Weird Al European Tour plans. Would love to the the Riders live as well.
10. Green and Troubled Land
Green and Troubled Land is the longest song of the album. The song feels comparably and almost has radio qualities – if there wasn’t the five minute duration. What doesn’t make you stronger will klll you in the end – not the most optimistic way to look at things. The song has a nice vibe, but could be even more present.
11. This Life Will Be the Death of Me
The closing track cannot really persuade me. The song is nicely recorded and has a nice groove. However, I don’t see too many catching elements in it. The song is too plain in my point of view.
Black Star Riders – Wrong Side of Paradise – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Black Star Riders – Wrong Side of Paradise – My View
Compared to the predecessor, the Black Star Riders definitely took a major step forward again. Not all eleven songs on the album are good listens, but the album has some really nice highlights. Unfortunately, this also means that the BSR are still not yet at their high level of potential – or do I simply overestimate them? Hope that the next album will tell the answer.
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