• Sun. Apr 21st, 2024


ByTaylor T Carlson

Apr 25, 2022

A few years back, we got the debut album from Black Swan, a supergroup combining the talents of Robin McAuley (MSG/Survivor), Jeff Pilson (Dokken/Dio), Matt Starr (Ace Frehley/Mr. Big), and Reb Beach (Winger/Dokken). Their debut album was easily one of the best of its release year, and as fans, many likely wondered if there would be another album from the quartet. It seems like many of these Frontiers Records “manufactured supergroups” are one and done, no matter how good the music may be.

Imagine my delight when I heard we’d be getting a second release from Black Swan!

One of the tough things about a band like Black Swan is the commitments the individual members of the band have to juggle; does anyone know how many different bands these guys are in now? Perhaps more importantly, have these guys grown since their debut; itself one of the best rock releases of recent years?

You’ll be happy to know these guys are firing on all cylinders once again. The first album was great, no questions asked. But it’s GENERATION MIND, the band’s sophomore album, that truly kicks things into high gear. You know how talented these guys are on the basis of their first album, not to mention all the other projects these guys have played together in. Hell, we just got a new melodic/AOR-type solo album from Robin McAuley last year, which was one of my top albums of the year. Mr. McAuley continues to prove himself an MVP in the world of rock and roll, standing tall as the proverbial singer who could sing the phone book and make it a work of art. Pushing 70, the guy still sounds better than most vocalists half his age.

The rest of the band are no slouches either. Pilson’s long been one of the most reliable, not to mention underrated, bassists in the business. And rounding out the rhythm section is Matt Starr, another underrated but superb player who brings his A-game to every project he’s a part of. Axeman Reb Beach lays down the riffs as few others can, bringing to this group what he has to so many others, including those classic Winger records and underrated post-80s Dokken albums as well.

But the question likely on your mind…. Is the music itself any good? It’s hard to find that band that can write good songs in this day and age, let alone perform and bring them to life in the studio and on the live stage. But guess what? The quartet pulls it off here. From the beginning, they grab your attention with the riffage and McAuley’s unmistakable vocal. While certainly a throwback to the hard rock and melodic rock of the past, they still manage to give it a modern edge and not feel like a nostalgia act. That’s good enough for me, and I’m sure it will be for most fans of classic hard rock. We’ve got the album we asked for… now we just need a live concert tour!

GENERATION MIND will likely show up on my list of 2022’s best rock albums. How could it not with this amount of talent assembled? It’s a breath of fresh air in all the right ways and comes highly recommended. Don’t pass this one by.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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