Sound — 8
This is Black Stone Cherry's second album and on it the band certainly have a more mature sound. They managed to rope in Bob Marlette to produce the album and his contribution is denfinitley audible. Now, I have to admit that at first I wasn't exactly pushed on the idea of a band's second album being based around a concept but it works pretty well and the concept and sound suit the band. The opening song "Blind Man" is quite like the song off their first album and as a single probably gives off the wrong impression of the album as a whole. The next track "Please Come In" goes in a completely different direction. The song is almost over-produced with backing vocals, different instruments and effects and it seems as though the band wrote the song as a type of overture for the rest of the album and as such is a bit all over the place with it's heavy riff not blending to well into the bridge and ballad-esque chorus. "Reverend Wrikle" is has an almost undescribable rock/metal/folk sound to it and an epic chorus. "Soulcreek" is probably the weakest song on the album and seems a bit like the first BSC album by numbers. Then comes thier first ballad. A lot of people and magazines have complained about the ballads and the amount of them on this album but "Things My Father Said" is an exellent first attempt.I read a review recently of this album and the reviewer claimed that on this song Chris Robertson sounds like Ronan Keating, and to be honest he does, on every track!! Chris Robertson is the Ronan Keating of the rock world! "The Bitter End" is an exellent brooding melodyolic almost metal song and anyone who's heard Marlette's work on Alice Cooper's Brutal Planet or Dragontown will be able to pick out the haunting backing vocals and distancing effects he uses here. "Long Sleves" and "Peace is Free" are two songs similar in theme and sound. They blend folky/revolution themes with classic hard rock. "Devil's Queen" would not have been out of place on BSC's first album but has an exellent ghost ship quality to it and although it is one of the albm's strongest songs it will probably be overshadowed by the rest of the album and be forgotten. "The Key" is a great swap-rock style song and features a spooky hoe-down. "You" is the album's final ballad a features some playfull, if if not exactly incredibly impressive, use of instruments. "Sunrise" has the paced aggression of "The Bitter End" but has a bridge that borders regae. The album comes to a crackling finish with "The Ghost of Folyd Collins" the story of a trapped miner.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics on the album get a bit cheesy at times but never take it too far. The best lryics on the album are no doubt on "The Key" with a few song like "Devil's Queen", "Ghost of Flyod Collins" and admittedly "Things My Father Said" if only for the fact that they convey emotions very well. Chris Robertson's voice never faults on this album but is probably not as extravagant or powerfull as on "BSC" and it does suit the darker theme and songs on the album. One vocal aspect of the album htat dissapointed me was that although titled "Folklore and Superstition" on a good few song as story was suggested but never expanded on or developed.
Overall Impression — 8
Although more mature, I don't think this album is as good as "BSC". My favorite songs on the album are "Blind Man" "Devil's Queen" "Sunrise" and "Ghost of Floyd Collins". Overall it's a good concept album but I'd prefer to see the next album as more rock'n'roll and Led Zepplin style than this. If you don't already have the first album (and like ACDC Led Zepplin Lynard Skynard or any classic rock style music) get that first.