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Album Review: Black Stone Cherry – Magic Mountain

2 min read

Rapidly becoming the leading flag-holders of Southern hard rock, Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry have released fourth studio album Magic Mountain. Guided by veteran rock producer Joe Baressi (Soundgarden, QOTSA) the quartet have put together an album that “captures the live energy, honesty and vibe that encompasses our true musicianship”. 

BlackStoneCherry-MagicMountainThe band have steadily built on their riff-heavy repertoire since their formation in the early 2000’s, earning them devout followers across the US and UK. Tours with the likes of Alter Bridge and Lynyrd Skynyrd has only widened their fan-base further, enabling them to reach out with their very accessible, hook-heavy brand of rock and roll. So how does latest effort Magic Mountain sound? In a word, it’s similar. Similar to what you may have been expecting, similar to the music the band has put out previously, but more importantly, it’s similarly just as much fun to listen to as those previous efforts. From the get go, you are instantly aware of the ride you’re about to undertake.

Magic Mountain is all about those groovy riffs Black Stone Cherry are famous for. Throughout, it’s loud, hard and in your face. Album opener Holding On…To Letting go and Peace Pipe demonstrate a flurry of fretwork and riffs with more gusto than we’ve heard in a while from the boys. This relentless riffing is a staple part of the Black Stone Cherry sound and it clearly hasn’t been forgotten. There are times where influences are clear, with a number of riffs on tracks such as Never Surrender are executed with a certain Alter Bridge-like precision.

Guitarist/Vocalist Chris Robertson’s vocals are powerful as always. He’s at full throttle for the most part, and really lends himself to those huge choruses, as can be seen on Bad Luck and Hard Love. It’s nice to hear the band still have a soft spot for a ballad – tracks Runaway and the more acoustic Sometimes show a different side of Black Stone Cherry and it’s here that Robertson’s vocals take a more raw temperament, allowing his talent to show through that extra bit.

The album is maybe a couple of songs too long, with a few numbers very reminiscent to the sound of others and one could think a more tightly knit put together package could have been achieved with perhaps a touch more focus. Nevertheless, Magic Mountain is a fun listen and fans will no doubt enjoy the ride. It might not be the band’s landmark listening, but it is a welcome continuation of good riffs and powerful performances that are easy on the ears.