Blackthorne – Afterlife/Don’t Kill The Thrill (2CD Reissue)

Afterlife & Don't Kill The Thrill Album Cover Art

Blackthorne – Afterlife/Don’t Kill The Thrill (2CD Reissue)
The Store For Music
Release Date: 30/07/2021
Running Time: 77:51/76:38
Review by Chris Galea

Blackthorne was one of those short-lived bands that never went close to attaining its true potential. The band was formed in the early 1990’s by guitarist Bob Kulick (Kiss, W.A.S.P., Meat Loaf, Doro, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens), vocalist Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Michael Schenker Group) and keyboardist Jimmy Waldo (New England, Alcatrazz, Warrior). The band’s rhythm section was composed of bassist Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot, House Of Lords) and drummer Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Alex Masi, Steppenwolf). Not just ‘a band’ therefore but more like ‘a supergroup’.

Jimmy Waldo blames the band’s quick demise on the Grunge scene but before throwing the towel, Blackthorne released one album (“Afterlife”) and almost released a second one. This double-disc release, therefore, celebrates the band’s music albeit retrospectively.

Full details of the double-album’s contents can be found below but essentially, besides offering both albums in one package, this release is also jam-packed with demos of more unreleased tracks and alternate versions of Blackthorne songs. And before you put on your most sceptic-sounding snigger, let me say that a lot of the demo tracks we have here actually sound quite good. For example, on the disc containing “Afterlife”, the bonus demo tracks are sometimes better than the album tracks, especially with regards to Graham Bonnet’s singing.

Overall, I would say that the music style has something of the classical roots of Alcatrazz as well as the electrifying feel of Warrior, the band Jimmy Waldo had with Vinnie Vincent (Kiss, Invasion) and his ex-bandmates of New England. Regarding my Warrior comparison, check out the guitar tone and choir vocals of ‘Over and Over’ or ‘Sex Crime’.

In their sophomore (unreleased) album “Don’t Kill The Thrill”, Blackthorne continue to explore their musical ideas while remaining within the Classic Heavy Metal niche. ‘Twist The Blade’ is not short of catchy melodies but contains a Punk-ish riff that gives it a distinct edge. Riffs, melodies, solos…Bob Kulick gives all he’s got in ‘Don’t Kill The Thrill’. ‘Love From The Ashes’ leans more onto Hard Rock rather than Metal and it’s a great song.

Despite what I mentioned earlier, a few tracks (and not only demo tracks) failed to convince me. But, by and large, this was an album I enjoyed listening to.

Sadly, Bob Kulick and Frankie Banali passed away last year within the space of three months and thus didn’t live to witness this release. So, I reckon one may also consider this “Afterlife/Don’t Kill The Thrill” as a sort of joyful dirge celebrating Bob and Frankie’s talents and undying influence.

In all honesty Blackthorne was a band I discovered thanks to this double-album and hopefully it will introduce many others to the band’s music. For sure if there’s just one Blackthorne release you’ll ever need in your record collection, then it’s got to be this one.

‘Afterlife’ (Audio)

Afterlife CD1:
01. Cradle To The Grave
02. Afterlife
03. We Won’t Be Forgotten
04. Breaking The Chains
05. Over And Over
06. Hard Feelings
07. Baby You’re The Blood
08. Sex Crime
09. Love From The Ashes
10. All Night Long

Bonus Tracks:
11. Wild Inside (Demo Cassette 1992)
12. Get My Heart Out Of Here (Demo 1992)
13. Since You Been Gone (Demo 1992_Vocal 2018)
14. Afterlife (Original Demo Mix) (Tony Palacios Guitar)
15. Baby You’re The Blood (Demo 1992)
16. Afterlife (Live Unplugged)
17. We Won’t Be Forgotten (Live Unplugged)

Don’t Kill The Thrill CD2:
01. Don’t Kill The Thrill
02. Wild Inside
03. Skeletons In The Closet
04. Dreaming In The Hideaway
05. Man In A Black Hat
06. Twist The Blade
07. Judgement Day
08. Insanity
09. Sanctuary (Alternate Vocal)
10. Save Me

Bonus Tracks:
11. Paralyzed (Early Demo)
12. Twist The Blade (Early Demo)
13. Guilty Of Insanity (Early Demo)
14. Afterlife (Demo 1992)
15. We Won’t Be Forgotten (Demo 1992)
16. Over And Over (Demo 1992)
17. Baby You’re The Blood (Demo 1992)
18. Love From The Ashes (Demo 1992)

Graham Bonnet – Lead Vocals
Bob Kulick – Guitars
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Chuck Wright – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums



Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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