on 11 May 2014
Finally, BSC's fourth has arrived and I was praying it was going to be better than the slightly disappointing 'Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea' - even though it contained some gems. Magic Mountain is twice as good as the third album; I was completely blown away by the monstrous first single 'Me And Mary Jane' which is definitely a contender for the best BSC song ever. Its catchy tune, great riffs, amazing vocals and mad drumming make it one of the best on the new album.
'Holding On...To Letting Go' - A great opener to the album. This song uses the Black Sabbath technique of swung quavers in a heavy rock song which is very effective and the screeching guitar solo is awesome.
'Peace Pipe' - Pure gold and an addictive chorus that you can't get out your head. The brilliant guitar work continues throughout the whole song with a strong bass line and, as in every track, the drumming will amaze you.
'Me And Mary Jane' - Genius
'Blow My mind' - This song contains the best riffs BSC has ever come up with along with a rocking verse and chorus.
'Sometimes' - The second and last ballad on the album and what a cracker! An outstanding vocal performance alongside pleasant acoustic guitar and passionate lyrics really gives this song some emotion.
'Dance Girl' - It has everything: a funky intro, electric sound effects and a classic duel guitar solo.
'Hollywood In Kentucky' - Just wow. This is exactly how Hollywood would be in Kentucky! It has a surpising yet tremendous ending that you have to listen to.
'Remember Me' - The longest track the Kentucky rockers have done; just over 6 minutes. It opens with a creepy electronic sound that pops up again in various points in the song. Unbeliable drumming and a killer guitar solo.
All of the other songs are still incredible apart from 'Never Surrender' which is too bonkers for me and Chris Robertson screams most of it.
Overall, 'Magic Mountain' is the finest BSC album for a while with consistantly quality tracks and beastly riffs and solos that Tony Iommi would be proud of! Also, you can't really hear the bass in previous albums, however here, John Lawhon is throbbing away like Geezer Butler. John Fred Young, what can I say, the best rock drummer around. Chris Robertson's growly rock n' roll voice is still going strong and the guitar playing from him and Ben Wells is excellent especially when both of them do a duel guitar solo. I would reccommend 'Magic Mountain' to any fan of rock and you won't be disappointed, add to basket now!! :)
on 28 August 2014
As a Black Stone Cherry fan I just don't have the heart to give them less than 3 stars.
That might not make sense and I agree it is a strange thing to say, let me explain. I have been a big BSC fan since I took a chance on their first album. I couldn't wait for their second album Folklore and superstition and it didn't disappoint. It is my favourite album by them and one of my favourites in my collection. The 'difficult' third album then, or maybe not so difficult for BSC. Another great album although maybe straying from the raw southern rock feel that they had originally....
Now to Magic Mountain. I'm afraid I just can't get into it. I wanted to like it but it just doesn't work for me. I'm not sure why, they seem to have lost their original sound in this album and the songs seem a bit disjointed to me.
I'm fairly new to the BSC world but this is great,a quite superb album,all the usual references are there that people have mentioned thru the reviews of their various releases,Sabbath/Zeppelin power and riffs,a touch of Southern rock and if i may,to my ears,i hear little nods to Masters of Reality circa the 'Blue Garden' disc.
There isnt really any weak moments here,most of the tracks have a groove of their own but combine catchy sing along choruses,such as 'Holding on to letting go' and 'Bad luck to hard love' while the excellent 'Peace Pipe' has a refrain with a commercial sheen that still rocks , the sort of level Bon Jovi could have reached had he got some dirt under his finger nails.
The rest stunning classic rock with the likes of single 'Me and Mary Jane' and 'Hollywood in Kentucky' holding the candle for Southern rock. Beast track,a close call but the Title track gets me every time..
A 5 star release,easily,if this doesnt take them to the top,nothing will
on 12 May 2014
I was very reserved about buying this after BSC's 2011 effort. Despite having a couple of good tracks, BTDATDBS had me worried that the band might have been irreparably commercialised by Roadrunner in the same way as Nickelback.
With Magic Mountain, the band has gone back to seriously heavy modern riffage combined with all the classic rock trimmings and that's exactly what really turned me on to them in the first place. The first track's switch to half time in the verse was breathtaking the first time I heard it.
At times I feel they might have made their songs a little gimmicky with the drugs references- it makes the band sound a bit like teenagers who've just tried weed for the first time. With that said, 'Peace Pipe' is probably my favourite track from the album.
Not as many soppy ballads in this one, but by far the most disappointing track is 'Hollywood in Kentucky' which is just cringe-worthy with Chris affecting a more pronounced southern accent ('corn bread and buddhurr') that he would never normally use. It's a bit of a blemish on an otherwise commendable album. I'm very happy I gave them the benefit of the doubt!
on 30 October 2014
Often when buying a new album there may be a few you really like and a few "meh" tracks. With this album, it is not the case. Each and every song has a strong sense of emotion and thought put into it. Chris Robertson's voice is still outstanding with no loss of power, however I will say that this album is slightly different to the previous ones (much like "All Hope Is Gone-Slipknot 2008) and again both albums although different than their predecessors are simply masterpieces. Songs like "Me and Mary Jane", "Magic Mountain", "Fiesta Del Fuego" and "Holding On To Letting Go" are a few of the highlights, with another different, more mellow country number (Hollywood in Kentucky- BTW great live ;) ) still proving to be an amazing song. In short, just buy it.
And so to album number 4 which, bearing in mind the quality of the previous 3 albums, is decidedly, almost, average whiffing a little of just getting an album out there before people begin to forget White Trash Millionaire etc!
It's well recorded but there's just nothing to stand out and smack you between the eyeballs - and before you all clatter me with the "you haven't listened to it mate" - it's been on in the car constantly for a week now and there is just nothing that makes me want to hit the repeat button to hear a hook, a guitar break or (heaven forbid) an anthem! Even the quieter numbers just do not generate warmth or anything inviting. Maybe it really is a case of me just expecting too much from these Kentucky rockers but really, when they have promised so much in their previous releases, to come up with nothing fresh is more than just a little disappointing, it's downright criminal.
Fortunately, by holding back on purchase, I have procured this album for a lot less than it started out at, but nonetheless, I am still several pounds poorer and no music richer..... !
Punters - you have been warned
on 11 May 2014
A quick note for all. Most have already provided a short synopsis of this fantastic album and my intention here is to look at Magic Mountain in a little more detail for those who are interested. For those who wish only to know whether or not I recommend the album, and why. then skip to the end for my final overview.
So...Black Stone Cherry. I was actually introduced to this band by Amazon. Under their recomendation I purchased their debut album and from the moment Rain Wizard blared out of my speakers I was hooked. Since then the Cherry have become one of my favourite bands and have, in my opinion, improved album after album. Between the Devill... was a stellar release and my expectations for this 4th release were sky high. I'm ecstatic to say that in no way am I disappointed. Without further ado let's get down to the tracks.
1. Holding On...To Letting Go: Black Stone Cherry have a bit of a knack for opening songs, particularly in Rain Wizzard and Blind Man. I must admit here then, that on first listen Holding On... didn't seem quite to hold up to those amazing tracks. However, after a few spins of the record it emerges as a fantastic track, if not quite at the standards of albums gone by. The lead off riff is fast and furious but it is undoubtedly the chorus, as is the case with so many tracks on this album, that really lifts the track. Cherry are surely the Bon Jovi of modern southern rock. They constantly hit you with huge, catchy, and frankly outstanding, chorus's that just imprint in your brain long after the 13th track comes to a close. This opener sets the already high standard in this respect and will undoubtedly transfer well live, again like so many tracks here.
2. Peace Pipe: Track number 2 comes in with a fantastic groove that gives way to a typically southern style slide riff. Where does the track come alive you may wonder? Or probably you've already guessed. The chours comes in with a much softer undercurrent musically but in characteristically catchy fashion. Following the second chorus we arrive at a simply brilliant solo section which drifts from speaker to speaker. Towards the end of the song Robertson flexes his outstanding vocals to give an already fantastic track some added oomph.
3. Me And Mary Jane: Next up we have the fantastic lead single which you all know enough about already so I need not to go into too much detail. What I will say is that, of the thirteen tracks, Mary Jane is almost certainly the closest sonically to previous releases. In fact the track would not be out of place on Folklore and Superstition. Needless to say its a fantastically cathcy tune with a sing-a-long chorus which has already proved successful live.
4. Runaway: In the 4th spot we have the first ballad of the album, and what a ballad it is. Soft reflective verses give way to a fantastically sung chorus with heavy guitars driving it along. Robertson's voice has chance to shine again here which is always a plus. This one of my favourites, at the moment, on this brilliant album.
5. Magic Mountain: Next up we have BSC's frist title track. Often an album title track is a song of epic proportions. Not always a single but often a live favourite and a stand out moment. Think for example Master of Puppets, Back in Black, Powerslave. Magic Mountain undoubtedly lives up to these requirements. A Deep Purple-esque intro gives way to a fantastically funky main riff and stacatto style verse. The chorus is pretty naff really. Of course it isn't! It's brilliant, another sing-a-long moment, once you learn the last line anyway. Then comes the breakdown which leads into a typically unexpected solo bringing the song down a notch before once again exploding into that chorus! Another favourite of mine.
7. Never Surrender: Track number 7 has recieved a lot of praise from reviewers already. Not me, however. It's certainly not a bad track but I believe it's the weakest on offer on this album. It does have its plus points. It's definitely the heaviest and most furious track and it has a breakdown which is orgasmic. However, neither the verses nor the chorus do much for me, which is a real shame when compared to almost every other track. As I have said, it's not bad in anyway, it's just not outstanding.
8. Blow My Mind: Next up with have a mid tempo number which shows its southern influence from the get go and throughout. A fantastic riff carry's another brilliant chorus along. There's a great little solo in this one too which leads to a fantastic final chorus build up.
9. Sometimes: Ballad number 2 comes in at track 9. An altogether softer number than Runaway with sinmply outstanding lyrics. Robertson's emotion shines through on this number and the chorus comes alive towards the end when that fantastic voice opens up. Runaway edges it for me out of the two, possibly because of its heavier approach to the chorus. But Sometimes is a beautiful song that gives you a little rest from a relentlessly heavy album.
10. Fiesta Del Fuego: In the tenth spot is a slightly unsual track that is simply amazing. A running bass riff opens the song and vocals appear somehwere in the background before another huge chorus explodes onto the speakers. A voice tells us that "Fiesta Del Fuego is the place where the girls go" before a brilliant riff takes over. Another great solo appears on this track and it has soon become my absolute favourite among Magic Mountain's gold mine.
11. Dance Girl: Here we have the track that 'Let Me See You Shake' Should have been. It's simple hard hitting riffs sandwiched by slowly building verses. The chorus, so simple but so catchy as always. It's the simplest song on the album for sure but it just works so well you can't help but love it.
12. Hollywood Kentucky: And so we move on to BSC's Nickelback moment. Forget Rockstar, here is a tale about how Hollywood could have been. With lyrics about mixing champagne with Mountain Dew its hard not to like this tongue in cheek number. It's commercial rock done by numbers with a satisfying chorus. It's done so well, however, that it's enjoyable and it's sure to be a live favourite.
13. Remember Me: Now we come to the end of an amazing journey. Remeber me starts slowly with an atmospheric background which gives way to a great little riff. Robertson has one last chance to flex his amazing vocal abilities when a once again infectious chorus arises. It might not be the best track on the album but it's a great closer and leaves you wanting to start the whole record over once again.
Overall then, on this 4th outing for the Kentucky boys, they truly have struck gold. It's their best work in terms of song structure. But also, BSC have managed to improve in an area which they were already well accompllished. Catchy chorus after catchy chorus ensure that this album will transfer fantastically to the arenas of the UK which the band will soon embark upon touring. If you liked their previous work you will love Magic Mountain. If you were somewhat disapointed by the number of slower songs on Between the Devil... then you will undoubtedly be happier about the heaviness of this outing. Either way you need to get this album. It's on heavy rotation in my car and I'm sure it will be the same for most of you out there. Can BSC do any wrong? So far, at least, it seems not.
on 7 May 2014
'Magic Mountain' is the fourth album by the Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry and the follow up to the highly successful 'Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea'
I judge albums on a few criteria. Sound and Production, quality of songs, appeal and repeatability.
Black Stone Cherry have always used great producers and this album is no different. The album sounds fantastic. It's well mixed, loud, and consistent with the previously released material but also has a slightly retro feel that obviously comes from the bands wide range of southern and county influences. BSC have the right balance of a loud modern metal sound and vintage classic rock but don't suffer the problem of trying to be clones of bands of the 70s (cough cough Rival Sons) they have developed their own unique blended sound. The guitars in particular sound brilliant on this album. They're loud, fuzzy and squeal and pop like a true guitar should. They're not polished and compressed to death like you get with a Nickelback or Avenged Sevenfold album. They have room to breathe.
High quality written songs is what we have come to expect of BSC. We get a nice mix of heavy foot stompers, powerful ballads and county rockers. A lot of the songs relate to the troubles that Chris Robertson has been going through and that really gives them some strong meaning. Other songs are just about the good old stuff... smoking weed, drinking and getting laid. You can't go wrong with that! We get the expected big sing-along choruses and catchy riffs that will fit perfectly in with their previous material especially in the live setting. Highlights of the heavy songs for me include Holding On...to Letting Go, Never Surrender, Fiesta del Fuego and Dance Girl.
Out of the more mid paced and county inspired songs Hollywood in Kentucky and Remember Me are my personal favourites.
But this album contains something I believe to be very special...
Easily the next Peace is Free or Things My Father Said. Quite simply one of the best ballads they have ever written. Chris sings with so much emotion that you really feel the pain of what he's feeling. "Sometimes I wish I could just rewind, Cause through all the tears I still want you hear with me"
Because BSC have mastered their combination of heavy metal, southern rock and county they do have massive appeal and I would recommend this album to any rock or metal fan. They do have such great crossover appeal. Songs like Never Surrender could easily be shown on Scuzz alongside the likes of Slipknot and at the same time Hollywood In Kentucky could be played on county radio. Their widespread appeal is best shown here in the UK. We have taken them in as our own and after their last sold out tour and headline spot in front of 40,000 people at Download festival they're coming back on their first ever headline arena tour!! Not bad for four lads from Kentucky. Both rock and metal fans can easily like this band, hell even county fans will like some of their stuff.
As for repeatability I think this album is strong enough to stand the test of time. The tracks are strong enough that you want to listen to them over and over again. It's definitely not a play once and forget album.
There are honestly not a lot of negatives to take from this album. No it's not the next Back In Black or Appetite for Destruction and time will only tell if songs like Me & Mary Jane or Dance Girl etc will be become anthems like Lonely Train, Blind Man or Boom Boom. Black Stone Cherry are not the next Led Zeppelin lets be realistic here. They're bloody good but not quite at that level.
Overall Magic Mountain is a strong mature album from a band who have now perfected their craft of making really catchy meaningful rock songs. So far it is easily the best rock album of 2014 and it will have to take something special to beat it. Black Stone Cherry are a band that every rock fan can enjoy and Magic Mountain is a stellar addition to their already fantastic bank of material. I look forward to seeing them in October.
on 15 December 2014
Not quite as good as the unbeleivably superb "Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea" but a half decent album anyway. Seen this band live 3 times now and whilst they are excellent on reciord, they are awesome live performers and give a great show.
on 13 May 2014
Another brilliant album by Black Stone Cherry if you like their previous three albums then you'll love this one. As for the best song I'd have to say Me and Mary Jane.