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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Stone Cherry seem unable to do any wrong!, 11 May 2014
This review is from: Magic Mountain (Audio CD)
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 May 2014 15:47:19 BDT
Roseywilts says:
what happened to bad luck and hard love?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 May 2014 12:49:06 BDT
I'm afraid I disagree with your comments about this album. I think it is average at the best. it has the feel of a rushed album under pressure from the record company. Very disappointed :-(
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