Black Stone Cherry
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea



by TheRamblingElf USER (16 Reviews)
July 15th, 2011 | 15 replies

Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An inferior release by a superior band. Perfectly enjoyable, but drastically under-achieving - listen to the first two albums absolutely to death before you touch this.

Oh Black Stone Cherry, why does it have to be this way? Do you remember how things used to be? Black Stone Cherry successfully updated the Blakfoot sound, merging the weighty power of Black Sabbath with the down-to-earth poetry of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The love songs had a bluesy muscle and the rockers were more than one-dimensional. Folklore and Superstition made excellent use of an upgraded production, tooling the band up to sound like real 21st Century Southern rock/metal, using this new podium to express melancholy thoughts about war and loss, mixed with hope and a gaze to a better future.

Few bands have fans as fanatically loyal as Black Stone Cherry’s UK fanbase, who gravitated towards the “honesty” a regional accent tends to give, which an American band can pull off – regional-sounding artists from Britain are often perceived as simpletons by British rockers. Naturally, this album has been lapped up as if it is the best thing since sliced bread. I, however, had had apprehensions, having recently seen the band playing a song from the special edition reissue of their second album, encouraging fans to re-purchase an album they already owned. Black Stone Cherry gigs are meant to be about big sing-a-longs, but that number silenced the crowd. I sniffed money-hungry sellouts, and sadly, this album confirms my concerns, offering a watered down pop version of Black Stone Cherry’s usually potent sound. Like watching Céline Dion and Anastasia “rock out” to “You Shook Me All Night Long” ( [url][/url] ), this album is a phoney, artificial impersonation of a heartfelt, meaningful Black Stone Cherry album.

In the album’s defence, the band, pop metal producer Howard Benson and their squad of hired songwriters have done a fairly good job approximating the BSC sound, and there are two gems in here. “Such A Shame” is a scary look into the life of a fallen angel of a girl, forced to strip for a living – such honesty about the painful truth of a male-dominated society have not been heard in something so mainstream since Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got A Gun”. “Like I Roll” is a genuinely uplifting song about a simple travelling life, with a car that could quite possibly be the one from the band’s hit “Things My Father Said” – it makes for a nice sequel.

That’s it for quality though, with the album’s three worst cuts suffering from truly shambolic song-writing. ”White Trash Millionaire” tries so hard to be a big, bombastic rocker, but fails to realise a band’s “rocking-est” song is not by default the loudest and fastest, and tries too hard. “Let Me See You Shake” and “Blame it on the Boom Boom” are simply the most bone-headedly stupid works this side of Limp Bizkit. At least Fred Durst sounds like he means it – this band doesn’t, stupid cock rock is simply not their forte.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea only has a few truly terrible moments, but it finds ways to render their best ideas useless. “In My Blood” for instance, is a great song about the advantages and disadvantages to a nomadic spirit, tarnished by a vocal effect on the chorus and a severely neutered guitar solo, dragging the song into Nickelback territory. “All I’m Dreamin’ Of” tries to conjure retro, folky imagery, but the illusion is shattered by the sterile, over-compressed production.

The remaining four songs are simply generic radio rock, far more derivative than what this band is capable of. Cliché, simpleton lyrics, un-dynamic arrangements, compressed “loud” audio, silly vocal effects, neutered guitar solos – “Killing Floor” could have been the band’s heaviest song if it hadn’t been so tampered with by the production team, for instance. Drummer John Fred Young is the single worst contributor here, sounding so characterless across the album that it is hard to believe it is the same mighty powerhouse that has always stood out from the crowd in the past.

There’s a time and a place in my life for bands like Hinder and Theory of a Deadman. They are simple pleasures, enjoyable when I am not looking for anything deep, just a simple pop hook and a catchy chorus. BSC were better than that, though. They don’t even execute the new sound effectively – at least Hinder are utterly convinced their melodramatic lyrics mattered! A complete lack of passion - replaced with calculation – pervades the entire album bar its two best songs.

Any other band would get a 3/5 for this - for offering up a definitively bog-standard release saved by two standout moments. But BSC are receiving 2/5 for this – because it hurts to see how the mighty have fallen so far from their perch.

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user ratings (127)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • thatdudeud0ntknow (3)
    Oh, how the mighty have fallen....

    tiesthatbind (2)
    This lonely train has gone off the tracks....

    CoConi (2)
    After "Folklore and Superstition", Black Stone Cherry really disappoint with their latest ...

    Hovercun7 (4)
    Black Stone Cherry hack their way through the crowded jungle of wannabe Rock 'n' Roll band...

  • UnstableConnection1 (3.5)
    Black Stone Cherry return to fine tune their signature sound even further and throw in a f...

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 15th 2011


Album Rating: 2.0

I realise this album has had enough reviews that it didn't really warrant another - I tend to write reviews for albums no one has written about yet. But people need warning to stay AWAY from this.

July 16th 2011


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off


July 16th 2011


I liked the review. Pos'd

August 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Blame it on the boom boom is an atrocious song! Otherwise I liked this album. Not as good as their debut but I really liked the slower moments: Won't Let Go, In My Blood, Like I Roll and Stay.

August 6th 2011


I hate how stereotypical these guys are..

August 6th 2011


I thought this was TDAG thread when I clicked on it.

As you were.

Digging: Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

August 6th 2011


Lonely Train was a pretty good song for the genre.

Really enjoy the album cover for some reason but I probably won't ever check this out...

Digging: Protest the Hero - Palimpsest

August 6th 2011


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Their self-titled is one of the best recent mainstream rock albums. It's worth checking out if you want some good heavier southern rock tunes.

But stay away from this one.

January 4th 2012


Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Great review. My sentiments exactly. Oh how much better they can be.

January 4th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0

Their self titled was so fantastic.

This is disappointment

March 2nd 2012


Album Rating: 2.0

I'm hoping from all the comments agreeing with me that the album's reception was poor enough for the band to recognise their mistake. Sadly, I think it has performed well enough for that to not didn't break them much new ground, but it hasn't really slowed their career down either.

Contributing Reviewer
June 3rd 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

I like this band. Their music isn't anything fresh or new, but they do have a good performance and well-rounded set of songs. Obviously their latest album, 'Between...' could have been slightly shorter to cut the filler material, but i generally like this album.

July 11th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0

Shorter? The standard edition of the album (12 track) is 41 minutes long. Couldn't shave much more and still qualify as an album!

September 30th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

excellent review. Pos'd

May 12th 2014


Blame it on the Boom Boom is fucking irritating

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