Album review: Black Stone Cherry – Screamin’ At The Sky

Black Stone Cherry prove yet again that they’re genuine, top drawer rock stars with triumphantly heavy and anthem-laden eighth album…

Album review: Black Stone Cherry – Screamin’ At The Sky
Steve Beebee

Time and time again music comes through. If you’re Black Stone Cherry’s Chris Robertson, a frontman as talented as he is understated, music is pretty much the only way to make sense of – and come to terms with – an increasingly confusing world. This is his band’s eighth album, one that both recalls the grungy heft of their classic 2006 debut while simultaneously sounding like something utterly of its own time. It isn’t exactly a puzzle or something to feel smug about liking – it’s just Black Stone Cherry continuing to be a brilliant band.

The first music to drop from this 12-tracker was the zeitgeist-capturing Out Of Pocket, a song that aptly summarises the difficult economic times we’re living through, without being remotely preachy. Chris’ chest-bursting vocal launches this chorus with such power that it’s likely to be shaking hands with astronauts aboard the International Space Station by the time you read this. It’s a phoenix from the ashes that proves the Kentucky quartet continue to deserve their place among rock’s higher echelon.

Finding shards of light in difficult places is a consistent thread. On Nervous, another hit-to-the-heart rocker, Chris sings, 'I feel worthless, introverted,' before gritting his teeth and adding, 'Come tomorrow, when I’m older, I will be somebody’s shoulder.' Elsewhere, on the infectious title-track and anthemic Who Are You, guitars bellow mayday as Chris ruminates on past torments. The songs are typically prescient, but while laden with fear, they’re nevertheless the sort of driving, rootsy rock we want and expect from this straight-talking and prodigiously gifted outfit.

The last six Black Stone Cherry albums have debuted at Number One on the UK Rock Albums Chart. It’s a mark of not just their great songwriting but of their relatable, everyman soul – and Screamin’ At The Sky hits as hard as anything they’ve ever done.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Halestorm

Screamin’ At The Sky is released on September 29 via Mascot

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