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MUSIC REVIEW: BLACK SWAN – Shake The World

| 21 February 2020 | Reply

Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Release Date: February 14, 2020

Rating: 92%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Frontiers Music has pulled a few musical supergroup rabbits out of their hat that have left me with a “new” band to like and the collective known as Black Swan is the latest in that string of supergroups pulled together.  With an eleven track debut disc to their credit, these guys are ready to take on rock and roll in 2020.  Disc opener and title track “Shake The World” launches us into the rock stratosphere and we aren’t coming down any time soon.  The rhythm section is locked in, the guitar parts cut with precision and frontman Robin McAuley has never sounded better in my opinion.  Be sure to crank the dial up a bit during the bridge to catch Reb Beach’s first solo on the disc.  “Big Disaster” starts off with a killer groove from bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Matt Starr.  The song gets an additional punch from Robin’s vocals and we have a potent one-two punch to start this disc off.  The contagious chorus draws you in and holds you prisoner.  “Immortal Souls” comes at you from the first note and doesn’t let up  for over six minutes.  The solid bottom end from Pilson keeps the track grounded.  The tempo set by Starr’s drums gets the foot tapping.  Check out a killer bridge that allows all three instruments to shine a bit.  “She’s On To Us” is another track that grabbed my attention from the first listen and gets better with each spin.  The guitars are cool and the thumping bass lines from Pilson really add depth to the song.  The chorus is awesome and should please any rocker while Reb’s miscellaneous riffs, pings, and  squeals made me play some air guitar.  “Long Road To Nowhere” has a fun guitar piece to start things off and is soon paired up with some cool drumming from Matt Starr.  The vocals join the fray and keep the song fun and flowing.  Disc closer “Divided/United” is a spotlight for McAuley’s vocals and pairs them with a beautiful piano interlude from Jeff Pilson.  The guitar work in the background helps elevate the track and helps take us out on a mellower note that shifts gears for the “United” portion of the track.  This Jekyll and Hyde track is a great way to keep you engaged and gets you to let the disc start over back at the top for another spin.

“Johnny Came Marching” opens with some percussion and some amazing fret work from Beach.  The song is a slightly slower paced track than some others on the collection, but don’t mistake that for being any less of a rocker.  The chorus is cool and screams 80’s rock radio.  The layered background vocals add texture to the song.  This track features some of my favorite guitars on the disc.  “Make It There” is a certified power ballad and radio hit in 1985 to 1988.  McAuley’s vocals are well matched with the musical accompaniment and he perfectly delivers the lyrics.  The guitars accent the track nicely and the rhythm section gives a great foundation without coming on too heavy.  “The Rock That Rolled Away” breaks through with a faster cadence than a lot of the tracks and allows Beach’s guitars to run wild through the mix.  The bass lines are thick and give the track a solid safety net.  This is another track that clocks in at over six minutes, but doesn’t feel like it.  “Sacred Place” gives Reb a few opportunities to shine from behind his guitar. He takes them and nails them.  While a bit lighter on the rock scale, the song is solid and let’s Robin deliver a vocal that shows he hasn’t lost a beat over the years.  The solo at the bridge is one that stands out among the others on this disc.  “Unless We Change” is a cool track that blends the sound of the rest of the disc with a modern rock sound thanks to a heavier groove from the rhythm section and the vocals that crank through the track.  The worst part of this disc?  It’s the same as other discs from Frontiers… there will most likely be a tour to support it.

Tracklisting: Shake The World – Big Disaster – Johnny Came Marching – Immortal Souls – Make It There – She’s On To Us – The Rock That Rolled Away – Long Road To Nowhere – Sacred Place – Unless We Change – Divided/United

Lineup: Robin McAuley (vocals) – Reb Beach (guitars) – Jeff Pilson (bass, keyboards) – Matt Starr (drums)

BLACK SWAN LINKS:

FACEBOOK

SHAKE THE WORLD – ITUNES

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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