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ALBUM REVIEW - BLACK STONE CHERRY, THE HUMAN CONDITION

Written by  Jo Higginbotham

Black Stone Cherry hits the ground running with their latest album, The Human Condition. This hard rock band from Kentucky offers a busy mix of old school style with elements of southern rock, country, and metal, and does so in a way that sends the listener through various waves of classic rock cultures and eras. This album has a retro feel with a modern production sound, and fits in well with current trends and attitudes. It is nostalgic without being stagnant, and it is a great example of how past influences can evolve music today.

Right out the gate with the heavy-hitting "Ringin’ In My Head", Black Stone Cherry shows off their energy  through this anthem. The second track, "Again", is already available as a single, and serves as a majestic preview to the rest of this work. Push Down And Turn rounds off a strong intro to this project, with riffs that trudge into a more rapid climax. Immediately, these songs are reminiscent of polished, yet gritty ‘80s rock, but with a production quality and musical sense that feels current. Even amid all the familiarity, there is still a freshness in both the musicality and the writing for these tracks.

"When Angels Learn To Fly" is a clean power ballad, again touching on a classic sound to give contrast against the songs around it. Immediately after, "Live This Way", jolts the listener back into the weight of this band’s heavy style. The album takes another turn with "In Love With The Pain", which has more elements of country than hard rock, yet mixes well with the rest of the direction The Human Condition has behind it. Easily, the best groove arrives in "The Chain", with a tight rhythm that morphs into classic metal, before shifting back to its home. Meanwhile, "Ride" has the most old school style behind it, with quick riffs, which support the soaring melodies. "If My Heart Had Wings" embraces more of the country side of this group, with a charming hook. The meat of this album leads into an incredible cover of ELO’s "Don’t Bring Me Down", which not only stands tall next to the original, but includes a unique and incomparable identity.

A choppy beat leads in "Some Stories", which continues to highlight the rhythmic talents Black Stone Cherry brings to the table. "Devil In Your Eyes" has an intricate structure in its composition, which keeps it constantly moving. Finally, "Keep On Keepin’ On" closes out the album with an upbeat resolution. In its final act, The Human Condition returns to the core of its musical identity, while still slipping in many of the stylistic choices that make this band stand out.

Throughout The Human Condition, Black Stone Cherry displays not only a talent for catchy hard rock, but also this band’s prowess in composition and painting an image with their music. This album is not a rehashing of recycled genres nor does it feel dated in its presentation. Rather, Black Stone Cherry has shown that even musical style is cyclical, and there is no limit to how old can be made new. The Human Condition does exactly that, phenomenally, and in a way that should excite any music fan.

 

As always, rock on my friends!     Hunnypot Approved!     Overall Rating:  8.6 out of 10

Artist:  Black Stone Cherry LPThe Human Condition  Release Date: October 30th, 2020, Label:  Mascot Label Group

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