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I'm a warrior... I serve the death machine! - 80%

Nhorf, April 19th, 2008

If I, one day, ask people about great hard rock bands, they will probably tell me that the greatest bands of that genre are, for example, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, etc. I'm pretty sure they will, unfortunately, never answer “Hard rock bands? Check out Thin Lizzy!”. Meh, world's unfair.
Indeed, this band shows a perfect blend of Irish folk music and country (check out the beginning of Cowboy Song) with the pure hard rock of the 70's. What a mix, isn't it? And, in the end, this mixture works very well, as this album turns out to be pretty good.

Phil Lynott's voice is very similar to the voice of Jimi Hendrix, probably because they are both black persons. So, if you are one of those that think that Hendrix is a fantastic guitar player but an annoying vocalist, forget this record, as you certainly won't enjoy it. Lynott is also the biggest songwriter of the band, as he penned almost every song of the record.
About the guitar work, wow, it's amazing. Unforgettable riffs and solos are present on almost every song; there is also a good use of acoustic guitars here and there, proving the folk edge of the album. The main riff of Angel from the Coast is catchy and one of my favourite riffs ever and, hey boy, that's saying something!

About the drum work... fantastic. I would even say that the drummer (called Downey) delivers the best performance of the record. His style is pretty original if you bear in mind that the majority of the hard rock drummers of the times were robots unable to play other drum pattern than the annoying kick-snare-kick-snare-kick-snare. Downey surely doesn't play complex beats all the time, but he sometimes adds unexpected accents or ghost notes (ghost notes RULE, bear that in mind) that keep the listener interested in the drumming. The best performance is the one on Angel From the Coast, probably - very dynamic and energetic.

So, highlights? The title track is a classic that influenced lots of metal (most notably heavy metal) bands out there. The guitar work is amazing (that main riff, oh my God...) and so is the chorus, which is catchy as hell. Well, in fact, EVERY track contains a good chorus, which shows that Lynott was a skilled songwriter and will keep you listening to the songs again and again and again.
Angel From the Coast is another highlight, perhaps the best song of the album. Boys are Back in Town, one of the biggest hit singles of the band (probably the biggest along the classic Whiskey in the Jar), is also an excellent rocker.

Those three are the best of the more aggressive tunes of the record, since this piece also contains some ballads and calmer songs. Flight or Fall is probably the best soft song of the album, being, again, very catchy and featuring some good instrumental passages.
The album ends with the consistent Emerald, a very good rocker, very much in the vein of the first two tracks.

About the production, wow, it's AMAZING; I don't think that there are albums out there, produced in 1976, that sound better than this one. Yes, it's that great!
This record is also a concept album about some futuristic subject, but I confess that I still don't understand the meaning of it. Anyway, every song stands out in its own way, so don't worry if you don't understand the concept too.

Concluding, this album is a true hard rock classic; although there are no “WOOO FANTASTIC MIND-BLOWING!” songs, every track is competent. The album is also pretty varied, so don't expect an unidimensional piece. Definitely recommended, if you like hard rock/early heavy metal.

Best moments of the CD:
-the beginning of Jailbreak and Angel From the Coast;
-the first vocal lines of Warrior;
-the solos of Emerald.

Pretty nice record, but, although every song is good, it lacks a real amazing track to keep things going. Anyways, good work, Thin Lizzy!