Black Star Sinners: ‘Black Star Sinners’ EP

Released on May 15, 2021 (Black Star Sinners)

I had been familiar with the name “Philthy Rych” for a number of years through various Facebook posts that I encountered and due to the seemingly odd nickname. Although Sleaze Roxx posted a few videos from Philthy Rych‘s previous band Sheer Lust and current group Black Star Sinners, it wasn’t until I heard the single “Meet The Devil” that I really became interested in the band. How interested you may ask? Well, after viewing the video for the track, which featured L.A. Guns bassist Johnny Martin, and especially hearing the vocals from singer Walt Deadly, I quickly purchased the band’s self-titled EP for the steal of a deal price of $5.00 US (with an extra $5.00 US for shipping to Canada). I’ll get back to that later in this review.

Thinking back, I have to think that having L.A. Guns bassist Johnny Martin appear (seemingly as the “devil”) in the band’s video for “Meet The Devil” likely peaked my interest to watch the entire video. As it turns out, the booklet for the Black Star Sinners EP does not mention Martin so I assume that he was just recruited to do a video cameo to contribute a little “star” power. In any case, “Meet The Devil” is a fun and upbeat song with Deadly really taking the song to another level with his terrific singing. He certainly shows off his various vocal ranges during the song and lead guitarist Ash Star delivers a cool solo. “Livin’ The Life” is a notch below “Meet The Devil” in terms of melodies but still a rocking track. Unfortunately, from there, the song quality really dips quite a bit.

“Stars In Japan” and “Degenerated” remind me of Anvil like territory, which is not a compliment in any way. I have always viewed Anvil as a C type band with good but sometimes almost pedestrian type melodies and vocals. Black Star Sinners did release a video for “Stars In Japan” that has Philthy Rych handling the lead vocals. When I listen to the track version on the Black Star Sinners EP, it sounds like Philthy Rych still handles a portion of the lead vocals but Deadly takes on the more challenging parts. I can’t say for sure as the EP booklet doesn’t really give any information in that regard. In any case, the EP version of “Stars In Japan” sounds better than the one that you can hear in the video below. “Degenerated” appears to be a cover from glam / punk band D-Generation. This song is anther notch below “Stars In Japan” and again, it appears that Philthy Rych might be on lead vocals for this one. The CD booklet indicates that an upcoming full-length album is coming from the band. Hopefully, “Stars In Japan” and “Degenerated” do not make the cut for the full-length record. Or to be more blunt, “Stars In Japan” and “Degenerated” should not make the cut for the full-length release.

This takes me to the EP packaging itself and to be fair, I have received / purchased quite a few “CDs” that have come in this format. The EP came in a coloured case that I believe that you can purchase at a store such as Staples. You can get all sorts of colours for the cases including yellow, blue, red, purple and green. The CD that I purchased ended up being a burnt copy of the songs. It reminded me of back in the ’80s when my friends and I — and just about everybody else — would tape albums on blank cassettes. The local bands that were unsigned would often distribute and sometimes sell their music taped on these blank cassettes. That’s what it felt like when I received the CD from Black Star Sinners. I totally get that it cost money to have CDs manufactured properly but it’s hard not to view the Black Star Sinners EP as a collection of demos due to its presentation. Now, the low price of the EP is making more sense to me. You might be wondering why am I picking on Black Star Sinners about this since I encounter this issue at least a couple of times per year. I get the impression that Black Star Sinners are serious about their music and want to get to that next level so they get my two cents on something that they can improve on very quickly.

Overall, Black Star Sinners show great promise with a song like “Meet The Devil” while tracks such as “Stars In Japan” simply don’t cut it. With more songs in the “Meet The Devil” category, Black Star Sinners have the potential to be considered in the upper echelon of bands out there. However, keeping songs such as “Stars In Japan” and “Degenerated” in their arsenal makes me think of them as a C and even D category band when I hear those tracks. Whatever Black Star Sinners end up doing, all lead vocal duties should be handed to Deadly from now on.

Track List:
01. Meet The Devil
02. Livin’ The Life
03. Stars In Japan
04. Degenerated

Band Members:
Walt Deadly – lead vocals
Ash Star – lead guitars
Tonestar – bass
Julie V – drums
Philthy Rych – guitar, vocals

Produced by Billy Baker
Engineered and mixed by Pat Burkholder

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, February 2022

Black Star Sinners‘ “Meet The Devil” video featuring Johnny Martin:

Black Star Sinners‘ “Livin’ The Life” video:

Black Star Sinners‘ “Stars In Japan” video: