Global Rock 2022
His licks as brilliant as stellar steel, a metal scene mainstay’s mercenaries stroll on down, without ever straying from heroic path set aeons ago.
Jack Starr’s was put on this earth in order not to surprise the flock but to stun the faithful with fiery playing and keep rock ablaze even when there’s an unexpected turn – such as foray into blues in the early ’00s – which only emphasizes the guitarist’s tether to tradition. That might be the reason why many a fan still associate the veteran with VIRGIN STEELE, the band he quit almost four decades prior to creating the eighth album with BURNING STARR – the platter painstakingly molded to heavy metal template and picking up where 2017’s “Stand Your Ground” left off. So while the titles like “Where Eagles Fly” or “River Of Blood” hardly are original, their folk-tinctured implementation is – melodically, not stylistically – and though the American axman’s melodies seem to have mellowed a bit before “Souls Of The Innocent” arrived, his ensemble’s assault retained its allure, the quartet’s sonic dynamics corralling the listener’s fears and fierceness for sheer aural pleasure.
The delights run from the brief quasi-orchestral intro “The Ascension” onward, until the histrionic epic “When Evil Calls” thematically circles back to the hysterical “Demons Behind Me” via six-string harmonies and not-too-harmless cinch between Ned Meloni’s bass and Rhino’s drums which carry the weight of Alexx Panza’s vocals that tell riveting stories of the possessed. However, the unhurriedness of “I Am The Sinner” whose riff is as robust as an unrepentant knight’s self-confidence, and of the title track with its choral attack, hits much harder, and the bombast of “Ships In The Night” displays a lot of grace too, especially once memorable lines are drawn across its refrain. Yet an a cappella start of “The Wrath Of Attila” perfectly sets the mood for the group’s pop-infected clangor which will follow and for “All Out War” to take their catchy groove to the speed limit.
As a result, there should be no complaining from the innocent and sinners alike if their soils have been claimed by this album: its pull is truly irresistible.