BLACK SWAN - Shake The World
March 3, 2020, a month ago
What happens when singer Robin McAuley (McAuley Schenker Group), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake), bassist Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, ex-Dokken), and drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big) join forces? Well, it rocks, with more energy and harder than several of the other Frontiers super groups/collaborations! Just from the opening pounding drums and build of “Shake The World” I knew this album would be good. First of all, if you have (or haven’t, shame shame) listened to the last three Winger albums, and latest Whitesnake; you know Reb knows how to write a heavy riff and complimenting solo. Pilson, who is not only a studio engineer/producer, co-wrote many of those great songs from Dokken’s classic ‘80s era. McAuley not only has a great unique voice, but also a songwriter with several Schenker co-writes, and Starr has many years working with the best from the business in hard rock.
“Big Disaster” continues to hit hard with great backing vocal harmonies and Reb just tearing it up as always in the solo section. A slower more Whitesnake-ish vibe (“Make It There”, see “Is This Love”) drives “Johnny Came Marching”, and a moody bass and effects on the guitars at “Immortal Souls” could have fit on Dokken’s Dysfunctional or Erase The Slate. Bluesy “Sacred Place” has that Rainbow effect on the guitar and the flow with more great vocal harmonies and leads, sandwiched between rockers “The Rock That Rolled Away”, “Long Road To Nowhere”, and “Unless We Change”. Given these guys pedigree, and Beach and Pilson’s chemistry from Dokken, hopefully the Black Swan will not be a one and done project. For sure in my top 10 for the year. Just another example of how one can be missing out not doing your homework on the big boys of hard rockers and glam metal, or prejudge them from MTV and radio hits.