Review Summary: Coming Down
I could start off this review lamenting the current state of how we conceive rock & roll or how Black Stone Cherry's new record sounds almost exactly like an even more offensively sexist and racist Nickelback. I could try and make a witty comment about how this album is 'coming down the mountain' (read: summary), or better yet make hyperbolic claims that this will be the most blatantly homogenous outing this year. But I'm not going to. Simply put; Magic Mountain
just isn't a good album.
It's not to say it's ridiculously offensive in nature (which lyrically, it is) or that it is even unlistenable (possibly the only quality I will put in its favour if radio rock merit must be awarded), but Black Stone Cherry are so rooted in something so bland and dead in the ground that it's physically repulsive that a band would attempt such a resurrection when they have little innovative to offer. So indistinguishable are the opening trio ("Holding On... To Letting Go", "Peace Pipe" and "Bad Luck & Hard Love") that it's difficult to imagine much effort or thought went into the songwriting process. Things only get hugely worse from this point on; "Me & Mary Jane" provides a fairly unlikeable chorus hook to hang some uninspired lyrics that imply a bit of ass play is at hand (yes, that's how I interpret "creepin' up slow/hangin' round my back door").
But then, that's really just the beginning. At least those songs could be redeemed for their laughable post-grunge diatribe. When it gets to radio-rock power ballad "Runaway" or horrendous McGraw-aping "Hollywood in Kentucky", all you can do is attempt to hold back your own vomit at the repulsively generic structure and lyrics that this band musters. Admittedly, salvation comes only in songs that can be described as 'not quite as ***'; obligatory heaviness on "Fiesta del Feugo" and hints of Alter Bridge on "Remember Me" hint reprieve that is still not up to standards.
Of course, it's all well and good to prove a point that a substantial market is available for this, and without a doubt this band will appeal to those who aren't as critically discerning. The tendency for the masses to shout 'rawk ain't dead!'
will unfortunately see more uninspired efforts like this take hold as people forget the Roll and just focus on three and a half-minute song structures, guitar solos, riffs and simple choruses. It stifles innovation and irritates the rest of us who realize rock and roll really isn't
being as regressive as humanly possible; I can hardly blame these deep-Southerner's for taking advantage of the situation.