BLACK SWAN – Shake The World (2020)
Vocalist Robin McAuley (McAuley Schenker Group), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake), bassist Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, ex-Dokken), and drummer Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big) have joined forces in BLACK SWAN, a new band project signed to Frontiers Records. Their debut album, “Shake The World,” an aptly titled album if ever there was one, is a delightful romp of powerful hard rock that is not simply the sum of its parts, but a powerful rock ‘n roll machine.
Super group? – Yes. Good? – More than that, this is freakin’ awesome.
Individually, Black Swan consists of some of the best and maybe more underrated names in the current Classic Rock scene to pick up an instrument or sing a note.
One of the best singers out there, McAuley is, as mentioned earlier, best known as a long time member of the McAuley Schenker Group working side by side with guitar master Michael Schenker.
A man who should be constantly recognized for his amazing work on the guitar, Reb Beach has been slaying hit after hit as a member of Winger for over thirty years and has been a staple in Whitesnake for the last eighteen years.
A long time member of hit-makers Foreigner, Jeff Pilson is one of the best and most consistent rhythm men in the business and he lends nothing less to Black Swan.
A veteran of the drum kit, Matt Starr has been a member of former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley’s solo band since 2012 and Starr also joined Mr. Big following the untimely death of Drummer Pat Torpey in 2018.
At heart, all four members of Black Swan contribute their own musical talents which have all come together to formulate these eleven new tracks of bursting Hard Rock.
In Pilson’s own words regarding ‘Shake The World’, the veteran bassist comments: “It’s amazing, incredible music. Wait until you hear everybody’s playing and singing. It’s beyond — way beyond.“
Ready to take this all in, ‘Shake The World’ leads with the eponymous title track that kicks this LP off in big rocker fashion. A strong statement, here we see McAuley resonate the words “Shake The World!” with his calm but highly melodic and effective vocals amongst the Hard Rock purists tearing it up beside him.
Keeping things interesting, “Big Disaster” and “Johnny Came Marching” amp up the catchy feel of the music as “Immortal Souls” stands out thanks to a compelling energy and a story of reuniting.
In Black Swan’s first shot at ballad wonder, “Make It There” is right in McAuley’s wheelhouse showing off the man’s prime vocal strengths. He has a very distinctive voice – none sounds like McAuley, and he shines here.
In your face, “She’s On To Us” is full of rapid fire guitar nuances a listener can really sink their ears into and then “The Rock That Rolled Away” is both electric and lively.
Continuing on, ‘Shake The World’ refuses to slow down as stated by the catchy potency of “Long Road To Nowhere” and cherished emotion by “Sacred Place.”
Lastly, “Unless We Change” and the ballad to rocker “Divided/United” offer a nice close to this pretty killer record.
Four uniquely talented artists, the debut of Black Swan is one that will impress Hard Rock fans young and old. A voice that should be heard more often, McAuley’s incredible vocal chords lend a new and vivacious effect to the music performed by Beach, Pilson, and Starr far removed from any Whitesnake, Foreigner, or Ace Frehley record.
Rhythmically, Pilson and Starr give Black Swan the tight backbone they need and Beach’s extreme versatility and dynamism just makes everything better.
This is one of the ‘albums of the year’ folks.
01. Shake The World
02. Big Disaster
03. Johnny Came Marching
04. Immortal Souls
05. Make It There
06. She’s On To Us
07. The Rock That Rolled Away
08. Long Road To Nowhere
09. Sacred Place
10. Unless We Change
Robin McAuley – Lead and Background Vocals
Reb Beach – Guitars and Background Vocals
Jeff Pilson – Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Keys and Background Vocals
Matt Starr (Ace Frehley, Mr. Big) – Drums and Percussion