Black Stone Cherry – The Human Condition (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

(Last Updated On: September 7, 2022)

Black Stone Cherry – The Human Condition (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 46:40 minutes | 589 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Mascot Records

As the world plummeted into the COVID-19 pandemic, the four members of Black Stone Cherry were nestled deep in the woods of Kentucky, scrambling to complete their 7th album. There, they could feel the disease closing in as they watched the news daily, and it became apparent the album they were finishing featured lyrics that were eerily prescient. The resulting 13-track record is broadly emotive, and anthemic. It was finished just before the global lockdown was imposed, and it’s aptly titled, The Human Condition.

In the past two decades, Black Stone Cherry has set a new standard for Southern rock, revitalizing the tradition with burly riffs and stirring rock hooks. The four-piece band have blazed their own way in establishing a legacy. The Human Condition was self-produced and tracked in bassist Jon Lawhon’s recording facility, Monocle Studios, in March 2020. The guys went in with 4 songs, wrote new songs, and recorded some beloved unreleased favorites. For the first time, the band opted to not record basics live and instead meticulously multitracked. Each member endured grueling sessions to ensure the collective studio mindset of achieving “epic performances.” The results are stunning—the grooves feel organic, the riffs are mountainous, the performances are urgent, and the hooks.

Over six previous albums, Kentucky’s Black Stone Cherry continued to prove that their hoary hybrid of Southern rock, grunge, post-metal, and hard rock remains vital. The Human Condition underscores their deserved reputation as the brotherhood of Southern swamp metal, but there is immense growth in their creative process. Previously, BSC’s recording process always involved cutting basic tracks while playing live on the studio floor. Working in bassist Jon Lawhon’s Monocle Studios, the band did a 180: For the first time ever, they meticulously multi-tracked every note and sound. The sonic detail is indeed expansive, but the group sacrificed none of their power or swagger. They also felt a sense of urgency; while recording, the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading exponentially, and they undertook marathon sessions to complete the record. They finished days before the world shut down. The result is a startlingly fresh-sounding BSC album. Opener “Ringin’ in My Head” offers muted feedback and dissonance before a bone-crunching guitar riff introduces the melody. Though written years ago, its lyrics are oddly prescient: “People people, your attention please/I need to tell all y’all about a new disease/it’s crept right up from beneath our nose…I got a ringin’ in my head/My bones are shakin’…I can feel it in my chest…The whole world’s been shaken.” The jam welds shattering grunge to metal as vocalist Chris Robertson sounds the alarm. “Push Down & Turn” offers scorching swamp metal. Robertson wails about his struggles with bipolar disorder and the band protects him with a maelstrom of overdriven riffs, chugging bass, and John Fred Young’s thundering kick drums. “When Angels Learn to Fly” and “In Love with the Pain” are both exercises in the kind of anthemic AOR stadium rock balladry employed by bands such as 38 Special and the Outlaws. The muscular, dynamic production frames infectious, melodic hooks, vulnerable lyrics, and chiming group choruses. The metallic psych in “The Chain” channels Soundgarden in the best possible way. “If My Heart Had Wings” melds Dobro, electric guitars, piano, synth strings, and majestic processional drumming as Robertson heartbreakingly confesses his shortcomings in a relationship strained to the breaking point. BSC’s customary inclusion of a classic cover remains in a noisy, slamming, irresistible read of ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down,” offered with impeccable backing vocals and the filthiest bass line Lawhon has yet recorded. On “Devil in Your Eyes,” Ben Wells channels Sonny Landreth’s slide guitar sound before raging into dark, swirling Pearl Jam-esque hard rock. “Keep On Keepin’ On” had to close the set. Despite its fist-pumping riff and hard rock vamp, the lyrical melody and group refrain return us to the tragic uncertainty of the present: “When everything that’s good is gone, got to keep on keepin’ on.” The Human Condition’s polished production might startle, but it’s key to the band’s most adventurous, mature, and finely wrought album to date, hands down. – Thom Jurek

1-01. Black Stone Cherry – Ringin’ In My Head (04:12)
1-02. Black Stone Cherry – Again (03:55)
1-03. Black Stone Cherry – Push Down & Turn (03:16)
1-04. Black Stone Cherry – When Angels Learn To Fly (04:33)
1-05. Black Stone Cherry – Live This Way (03:20)
1-06. Black Stone Cherry – In Love With The Pain (02:58)
1-07. Black Stone Cherry – The Chain (03:27)
1-08. Black Stone Cherry – Ride (03:17)
1-09. Black Stone Cherry – If My Heart Had Wings (03:15)
1-10. Black Stone Cherry – Don’t Bring Me Down (03:59)
1-11. Black Stone Cherry – Some Stories (03:37)
1-12. Black Stone Cherry – The Devil In Your Eyes (03:31)
1-13. Black Stone Cherry – Keep On Keepin’ On (03:15)


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