Despite their ever popular take on FM radio commercialism, Black Stone Cherry have always stood somewhat apart from their peers, with a spike of metallic thunder thrust through their soulful southern strut. Fifth full-length ‘Kentucky’ is certainly no exception, the Deep South five-piece penning a love letter to their home state with a foot stomping lesson in Sabbathian heaviness.
A far more focused and fiery beast than its predecessor ‘Magic Mountain’, this record erupts in a whiskey soaked haze of sledgehammer groove and stadium-sized bombast. There are giant hooks in abundance, from the woozy thump of opener ‘The Way Of The Future’ to ‘Hangman’‘s joyous shuffle, and even a touch of post-grunge (‘In Our Dreams’), all propelled forward by the turbo-charged performance of drummer John Fred Young and Chris Robertson‘s powerhouse vocal.
Indeed, what makes ‘Kentucky’ such an impressive step up from the band is that brilliantly executed balance between mainstream sheen and heaving metallic menace. The six-string clamour of ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Darkest Secret’ recall the stormy riffing of Down or later-day Mastodon, underpinning Black Stone Cherry‘s traditional anthemic bluster with a head banging aggression sure to delight even the staunchest of metal purists.
Ending on the dewy-eyed beauty of ‘The Rambler’, ‘Kentucky’ is yet another instantly enjoyable affair from Black Stone Cherry, refusing to comply to their stadium rock blueprint and continuing to introduce some subtle diversive elements without losing that radio friendly appeal. Their songwriting momentum ever on the up and up, ‘Kentucky’ represents just another peak from BSC‘s sterling catalogue.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)