BIG Heavy Rock
Over the last decade or so, Black Stone Cherry have risen to become one of the most popular bands in Rock music, with their sound lending itself to the arena atmosphere they now consistently occupy. The key with Black Stone Cherry though is that they’ve always been able to provide a gruffer side to that big arena sound - the kind of rough edge bands like Nickelback decided on discarding a very long time ago. With this new record, Black Stone Cherry have continued with this - something instantly clear as soon as the distorted, forceful, opener The Way Of The Future rumbles out of your speakers.
The guitar work across the album is by far and away the main highlight. On tracks like Hangman, between the big powerful riffs you’ve got some excellent solo work which instead of just being plonked on top really adds to the music. It’s around this middle stage on the album where the band have done well to mix their really Southern tinged bits with more of your classic heavier tracks. They’ve done well not to lean too much in to either territory, maintaining the interest of the listener throughout most of the record. The reason we’re saying ‘most’ of the album is because whilst there are some absolute bangers here, the album does feel a bit too long. Had the album been ten tracks long it probably would have scored a lot better, but by the end Kentucky your mind begins to wane towards what you’re having for dinner tonight rather than being able to concentrate on the music. It’s something a lot of these big Heavy Rock bands suffer with on record. The level of power and bombast is strong, but had it been more concise this would have packed a far more serious punch.
Another real high point across this album, and to be honest most of the Black Stone Cherry discography, is the vocal work from Chris Robertson. His range between the growling low points to huge Chris Cornell style screams is absolutely brilliant. One of the tracks on the latter part of the album, Darkest Secret perfectly encapsulates the level of power he’s able to generate within this band. He really is the driving force which pushes them into being a very good band rather than an average one.
Overall then, this is a very strong album. There is a reason why Black Stone Cherry are able to sell out venues like Wembley Arena and you need only listen to Kentucky to understand.