Friday, 15 April 2016

Record Review - Black Stone Cherry

Published in the Shortlist section of The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday April 15.

Black Stone Cherry

Album number five from Edmonton, Kentucky, hard rock band Black Stone Cherry bursts from the gate like a Derby frontrunner, a manic and riff-laden collection of modern hard rock tunes, running the gamut from headbanger’s delight to more introspective and soft-edged pseudo-balladry.

Opener, ‘The Way Of The Future’ is, simply put, one of the most effective hard rock songs I’ve heard for an age. All bristle and thunder, it brings to mind Soundgarden in their prime, vocalist Chris Robertson channeling Cornell to a tee. ‘In Our Dreams’ is equal part Nirvana and Clutch; ‘Shakin’ My Cage’, despite some softer moments, doesn’t let up on the assault.

Kentucky does stumble here and there – tracks like ‘Long Ride’ (a rather trite ‘rock ballad’) and the lacklustre ‘Born To Die’ seem out of place and just plain beige by comparison. However, closer ‘The Rambler’, also out of place due to the fact it’s an acoustic guitar / fiddle track, is a surprisingly poignant end-point. Robertson’s voice is right on, it’s a track which settles and calms, chills you out post-riffage. Throw in a cheesy-but-solid version of the Edwin Starr / Temptations classic ‘War’, and you’ve got yourself a winner of a southern hard rockin’ album.

Samuel J. Fell

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