Black Swan: ‘Shake The World’

Released on February 14, 2020 (Frontiers Music Srl)

As we have all come to know, when Frontiers makes the announcement that it is releasing yet another so-called super group album, we may become very skeptical. You see, sometimes these albums can be uninspiring and plain boring. I get the reasoning behind it. It’s to sell albums and possibly appease the album buying fan base of the artists involved.

With that said, Black Swan is definitely not the case. As I blared the latest collaboration of MSG singer Robin McAuley, Winger / Whitesnake guitarist Reb Beach, Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Matt Starr — whose resume is quite long and winding I may add — I was blown away by what I heard. The depth within this album is so overwhelming. So many factors play into that statement. It’s the amazing vocals of McAuley, the precise bass playing and background vocals of Pilson, the intense in your face attack of Beach and the powerful drumming of Starr. I have probably listened to this album six times in the last week and I just keep finding more and more depth.

Now of course I mention the depth, but with that depth the songs also have to be there. By all accounts the songs are superbly written and structured. I think what you will find with this collection of material, the songs have continuity. They blend so well from one to the next. Take the title cut for instance. “Shake the World” is an in your face rocker that really does “Shake the World.” It leaves you salivating for more. Of course the next track and single “Big Disaster” — and as McAuley recently pointed out to me — it seems funny to have the lead-off single called “Big Disaster” because frankly it could be. As you get to the more serious lyrical content of “Johnny Came Marching”, it becomes very obvious that McAuley is not afraid to write concise lyrics about important topics. I mean it really paints a picture of true life. “Immortal Souls” keeps that serious content going and this is where I think the album really shines. It’s like going to see a Broadway show, where it starts off great, but really picks up steam as it goes along.

“Make It There” may be very well the best slow tempo song of the year. This song has all the makings of radio hit. With that said, let’s remember that this is 2020 and this format doesn’t really get airplay on your top 40 radio station — but it should. As I say the last track may be the best slow tempo song of the year, “She’s Onto Us” may be the best song of the year period. What I love is that Beach’s riffing is in your face and reminds me of his work on the side two of Winger’s “In The Heart Of The Young.” What makes this song so special is how the vocal builds up into this insanely catchy chorus. The chording within the chorus is laid back and allows the song to breath.

“The Rock That Rolled Away” is yet another up tempo, in your face rocker that in some ways makes me think of the ’80s. Let’s be honest, the rock seemed to roll much harder and better in those days. My goodness, I think this is some of the best song structuring I’ve heard since last year’s Defiants album. Some musicians just have the ability to craft a song so concisely. “The Long Road To Nowhere” reminds me of Beach’s guitar work on last year’s Flesh & Blood album by Whitesnake. Of course, we know who had a big part in that. Mr. Beach, you kick serious ass. The texture of the subtle guitar under the solid vocal of McAuley in the verse, really adds superb depth.

“Sacred Place”, gives me chills and really makes my musical brain numb. The guitar intro is soft and subtle leading into a track that reminds me of Deep Purple’s “King Of Dreams.” Just a killer piece of music. “Unless We Change” starts with a nice orchestrated intro that like most of the album, goes balls out. I can almost feel a lump in my throat as I’m listening. The song then takes a quick change. Do you think there’s a pun in there? Very clever job guys. This amazing compilation of music ends with “Divided United” with McAuley stating, “I’ve been giving everything under the sun!” Love it, need it, buy it.

If I can give you one piece of advice in 2020, go pick up Black Swan‘s Shake The World. This is possibly the album of the year. Trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you!

Track List:
01. Shake The World
02. Big Disaster
03. Johnny Came Marching
04. Immortal Souls
05. Make It There
06. She’s Onto Us
07. The Rock That Rolled Away
08. The Long Road To Nowhere
09. Sacred Place
10. Unless We Change
11. Divided United

Band Members:
Robin McAuley – vocals
Reb Beach – guitars
Jeff Pilson – bass, acoustic guitar, keys
Matt Starr – drums

Produced by Jeff Pilson

Band Website: 

Reviewed by Tyson Briden for Sleaze Roxx, February 2020

Black Swan‘s “Big Disaster” video:

Black Swan – “Big Disaster” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe To Our Channel: | From the album SHAKE THE WORLD. Buy or Stream: | Signed CDs & T-s…

Black Swan‘s “Shake The World” video”

Black Swan – “Shake The World” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe To Our Channel: | From the album SHAKE THE WORLD. Buy or Stream: | Signed CDs & T-s…