Black Stone Cherry

Black Stone Cherry

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    7
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The debut album from youthful Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry meanders comfortably somewhere between metal and Southern rock. Black Stone Cherry has what it takes to be considered hard rock and Southern rock. Songs with titles like "Lonely Train," "Tired of the Rain," and "Rollin' On" and their somewhat predictable lyrics land the formula of Southern rock. Heavy distortion and gritty, brooding vocals reminiscent of Godsmack's Sully Erna lay down the format for alternative metal. Black Stone Cherry does what a lot of bands in the new century of alternative metal would like to -- find a new sound. The album never gets boring and is full of great riffs and a thunderous rhythm section. Lead singer Chris Robertson's vocals are surprisingly mature and soulful and the band's lead guitar (Robertson and Ben Wells) is impressive. "Shapes of Things," a cover of the Yardbirds chestnut, is a standout on the album. The tone, the rhythm, and the vocals are unique -- and if Black Stone Cherry keeps heading in this direction, the band will surely be able to separate itself from the influx of other bands who have been riding on the post-grunge alternative metal circuit since the '90s. The same goes for "Tired of the Rain," which features some of the best guitar work on the album, from a choppy riff to blues-infused licks and solo -- it's anything but bland. The real clincher of this song, as well as with "Rollin' On," is the use of a B-3 organ from guest artist Reece Wynans. It has all the charm of nostalgia, without being boring or forced. There's no doubt that Black Stone Cherry has talent, and they are onto something. Black Stone Cherry proves the band is diverse in their influences and goals. The Southern rock twist and the occasional Merle Haggard reference are a really solid start, but at times, the album comes across as a little too generic for what the band is capable of. Black Stone Cherry has more in them than to become just another alternative metal band in the now very post-grunge era.

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