I started listening to Black Stone Cherry from their first album in 2006. I must confess that I was instantly impressed. Their debut was great and the songs were amazing filled with energy that I am sure made the South very proud.
The follow up with the two next albums “Folklore And Superstition” and “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” was good enough, but after that I got the impression that they run out of fuel, at least as far as their albums are concerned. Because on their live performances in the States and Europe they kick ass from what I was able to watch on YouTube and their official releases.
So, my expectations were pretty low when I started listening to their seventh album, but right after the very first spin I decided that it’s their best one so far!
First of all, “The Human Condition” is pretty solid, it has a style that all the songs refer to and the flow is great. For example, in their first album, which I already told you that I consider the best, until this one came along, they have pure Southern rock songs and then more heavy and even stoner rock songs. But, on this one all the songs sound like they are carved from the same stone. They gel together in a great way, just like pieces of a jigsaw that fall into place.
Most of the songs are so catchy that stay in your brain. You just listen to them and remember the tune. “Again”, “When Angels Learn To Fly”, “Live This Way”, “In Love With The Pain”, I think Aerosmith and Bon Jovi would have killed to have written, but Black Stone Cherry did. One more song that stands out is “The Chain”, which starts off as mid-tempo and builds up to “all hell breaks loose” mode with the guitars going nuts. It seems like you’ve let the guitarists out of a cage or something. I can’t describe it in any other way. The solos are amazing and it’s like you been hit by a hurricane.
In general, the album has no weak songs, no matter how many times I listen to it I can’t find any flaws. There is nothing missing, or redundant, except maybe the cover of E.L.O.’s “Don’t Bring Me Down”. It’s a decent cover, but it doesn’t add anything to the album, but it doesn’t make any harm either to the tight and well-crafted final result.
Finally, the production is fresh, the ideas are great and once more I come to the conclusion that this is the best Black Stone Cherry album. It’s a very powerful shot in the arm of Southern rock. “The Human Condition” is hands down among the best albums I’ve listened this year, and one of the best of the genre in the last 10-15 years. So, hell yeah… “the South will rise again”.