As a band, you have a lifetime to write your first album. But after 19 years, so many brilliant records, and a strong, expectant fan base, you’d think it would get harder to keep delivering high-quality material. Not for Black Stone Cherry, it seems.
The band are back, with their seventh studio album The Human Condition, and I’m pleased to report that this release is everything you’d hope for and more.
Watch what happened behind the scenes when the guys recorded the album
So many releases need a few listens before I fully feel, appreciate, and embrace the tracks, but this album has more hooks than the school cloakroom. The melodic rock brilliance of When Angels Learn To Fly and In Love With The Pain are certainly high points on this record.
Check out the official vid for In Love With The Pain
Other standouts include The Chain (no, not Fleetwood Mac!) and Some Stories, which meld together the heavy, chunky, signature BSC vibe with a groove that fans adore.
What makes BSC so special and has surely been the key to their prolonged success is the sheer quality of their songs. Whilst there are heavy guitar riffs from Ben Wells and Chris Robertson along with the thunderous rhythm section of drummer John Fred Young and bassist Jon Lawhon, the songs speak for themselves. The band’s pop sensibility means the album is full of great tunes from front to back, and it is this that sets them apart from so many others.
You can watch the official vid for Again above
You can have the best songs in the world, but you still have to deliver them. In Robertson, the band have a gem of a vocalist who does that every time on this record. His lion-esque roar is phenomenal throughout, which is all the more remarkable as he underwent vocal surgery shortly before heading into the studio.
Pic: Mike Rodway
The record sounds terrific too, self-produced by the band in Lawhon’s Monocle Studios along with the engineer, Jordan Westfall. With a running time of just over 46 minutes, the album includes 13 tracks, of which only two exceed the four-minute mark. This means The Human Condition is an album that seems to end too soon, and really makes you want to listen again.
Check out the lyric video for Ringin In My Head
This release has a little less of the bluesy feel of its predecessor Family Tree, but is chock-full of classic BSC hard rock and oozes melody, which I love. Whilst the album is full of a dozen original songs, we also get a pumped-up cover of ELO’s Don’t Bring Me Down. BSC is a songwriting machine so I’m not sure the cover is necessary, but it’s certainly fun!
Pic: Mike Rodway
With a wonderful Foreigner-style opening riff, Keep On Keeping On brings the record to a close. It’s an uplifting track which acts as the perfect finish to the album. It will no doubt resonate with people all over the world due to the current situation and is sure to be a live favourite too.
Black Stone Cherry have well and truly nailed it again, The Human Condition is surely a contender for album of a very strange year. Brilliant – buy it.
The Human Condition is released 30th October via Mascot Label Group and is available for order here.
Ringin’ In My Head
Push Down & Turn
When Angels Learn To Fly
Live This Way
In Love With The Pain
If My Heart Had Wings
Don’t Bring Me Down
Devil In Your Eyes
Keep On Keepin’ On
Review by Madz Lenthall