The first album by BCC, in 2010, was a stunning piece of classic rock and the second album, cunningly entitled ‘2’ took the power and the themes of the first album on to a great place. ‘Afterglow’ is the third – the tricky third album – and it is difficult to know why other bands can’t match the way that the band is developing; this takes the last two albums on and shows just what can happen when a band is in sync.
The rat-a-tat-a-tat of Bonham’s snare serves as a brutal wake up to the album as they open with ‘Big Train’ and the first thing that comes over is that Derek Sherinian’s Hammond is more apparent than in the first two albums. Glenn Hughes vocals are still the barely restrained bellow and Bonamassa’s guitar is there, heavy and solid until he breaks out a dynamite solo – if this was the only thing here then I could go away happy.
The album shows that the players are developing musical relationships and there is more interplay between Sherinian and Bonamassa while Bonham seems to be taking a more central role – all his power and aggression is tempered by more subtle touches and numbers like ‘This Is Your Time’ have more of a groove than a simple blast, largely due to a softer touch from Mr Bonham and a ringing organ from Sherinian. Hughes suggests that ‘Midnight Sun’ has a Who-like sound but for me it is simply a solid rocker with a great hook although the ‘Baba O’Reilly’ style keys definitely make it more than just that.
The guitar work is dark and powerful with Bonamassa’s playing far more in the hard zone than on his solo stuff and his vocals alongside Hughes on ‘Cry Freedom’, running into soe great slide, show he is right in the zone. As with the previous albums, there is no filler. The songs are all band efforts and they demonstrate that there is no-one around with this much ability and intensity. There really isn’t any let up but nor should you want any; It is one to ride all the way through.
This is growing on me but there is also an immediate draw that makes you want to delve deeper. A great release and they just get better – I only hope they can hold it together to carry on.