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Black Stone Cherry - 'Magic Mountain' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/0e/b4/a5/mg-27-1405791837.jpg Hot

Added by Franco     July 19, 2014    
 
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The fourth album from Kentucky's Black Stone Cherry is, in many ways, a return to their roots.

The fourth album from Kentucky's Black Stone Cherry is, in many ways, a return to their roots. The 2012 tour following 2011's 'Between the Devil & The Deep Blue Sea' proved to be so exhausting that BSC took several months off afterwards to avoid creative and physical burnout. With batteries recharged, it was time for another record and 'Magic Mountain' is the result.

If I'm completely honest, I'm disappointed. Closer to the debut in style, with a distinct 1970s vibe, it lacks the commercial appeal of the first two albums. Production duties are handled this time round by Joe Barresi (Soundgarden, Tool) but it is apparent the input and influences of both Howard Benson and Bob Marlette are sorely missing. Where are the hooks and addictive melodies evident throughout those previous albums? Its all well and good bassist Jon Lawhon stating "a lot of Rock music today doesn't have any soul, it's all really bland and has no attitude or heart" but it means nothing if the statement cannot be backed up by a quality product.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Opener 'Holding On... To Letting Go' has a gritty driving riff and breaks down mid song with some nice instrumentation, but it just doesn't grab or impact like an opening track should. First single 'Me And Mary Jane' seems to have achieved limited radio airplay but I thought it was decidedly throwaway. 'Runaway' is perhaps the most commercial track but to these ears it would have been classed previously as a "filler". 'Never Surrender' and 'Blow My Mind' are below average workouts, devoid of real ideas and just a series of half-hearted riffs and melodies with a bass heavy mix, emphasized by Lawhon's prominent performance.

Chris Robertson's voice is still distinct and he has the 1970s retro nuance nailed but some of his performances are below his usual standards as supported by the melancholy 'Sometimes'. Its poignancy should have been something special but instead it's a never-ending piece of dreary agonizing. The songs may take on a different dynamic in the live environment but in the main these versions leave me cold. They are dark and earthy, reaching for branches on the Lynyrd Skynyrd song-writing tree but struggling for purchase on a slippery trunk. Throughout '...Mountain', the hooks come across more like a pre-chorus and the listener is left waiting for the big pay off.

After several spins, one or two qualities revealed themselves so maybe I was listening with an overly expectant ear? I do know that I missed out on a number of quality releases this month due to my time spent with '...Mountain'. I have also heard Anti Mortem's latest (produced by Marlette) and that is everything 'Magic Mountain' should have been.

Dave Bott

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