Black Stone Cherry has done it again. The southern hard rockers who specialise in placing meaningful emotion atop the heaviest of gruff-edged riffs return with their eighth studio album, Screamin’ At The Sky.
Black Stone Cherry – Screamin’ At The Sky (Mascot Label Group)
Release Date: 29 September 2023
Words: Monty Sewell
Released on Mascot Label Group, this 15-track juggernaut of a record is set to drive the band further into the upper tiers of rock royalty behind some – quite frankly – stunning album artwork that can only be described as ‘the more you look, the more you gawk.’
The first album to feature a new edition to the band, bassist Steve Jewell Jr. and the first one into their third decade together is nothing short of an enrapturing experience that will drive even the most passionate of BSC fans to the edge of their seats.
The first quarter of the album features previously released singles, Screamin’ At The Sky, Nervous, and Out Of Pocket as well as When The Pain Comes. Singles for the favored many, singles for a reason, the tracks see BSC at their most recent best.
We get an impalpable rock groove with a message to the masses song Smile before John Fred Young kicks up some neat drum fills in The Mess You Made, playing some of his finest work on the album with a face-gurning appreciation.
As far as BST go as individual musicians, with three out of the four still standing strong as founding members, it has been interesting to see each of them develop, and I’ve got to say, Screamin’ At The Sky is bursting at the seams with their seemingly endless growth in musical prowess.
Chris Robertson hammers out an astounding range of vocals on the standout track, Who Are You, whilst You Can Have It All feels reminiscent of that early 2000s rock that punctured the band’s initial, scene-breaking sound. Not Afraid is quintessential BSC, with the production as irreplaceably sharp as ever with the tones continuously dark within their deep chugs serving as starts to the songs lifted chorus’.
The surprising number on the record comes as a cover of the late Tina Turner’s infamous What’s Love. Both heartfelt and respectful, you’d hardly recognize the song until its pre-chorus, which then whips into a hard-rocking version of the song you’d struggle to find anywhere else.
Screamin’ At The Sky comes in confidently at the top of Black Stone Cherry’s discography in terms of composition, production and direction. As an ode to the rock gods, it stands staunch. As a message to the people, it exudes novelty. Mettlesome and unflinching, we now have enough BSC to cleanse our hard rock souls until the thirst for them to return to the UK touring circuit becomes too much to bear.