Black 9’s release Cruel History promises to be one of the more compelling metal/hard rock outings in recent memory based on the single “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”. This is the band’s first cover, but they attack the cut as if they wrote the track themselves, unafraid to twist the track to suit their needs rather than try to approximate it in a different style. The longtime songwriting collaboration between members Aven Roth and Blakk is the foundation of the band’s identity, but the cover of Tom Petty’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, made famous in a duet with Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, makes a case that the band’s deeper core is the performing energy they share between them.
The band’s metal theatrics aren’t overwrought, as is often the case with modern acts in this vein, but they know when to drop explosive instrumental moments into the arrangement. These passages are interspersed with hard charging sections pushed with just the right amount of energy. The chorus, especially, realizes the potential of re-envisioning this track in a different way than we’ve ever heard it before and they nail the bridge with a lot of inspiration powering them forward. It’s especially satisfying, as a long time fan of hard rock and metal, to hear a young band who understands how to get the best possible results from the style rather than pandering to its worst clichés.
Aven Roth’s vocals can’t help but grab you, particularly if you love the original version. She brings a much edgier, high stakes touch to the song’s lyrics and really exploits the moment when the song begins building towards the refrain. The male vocal makes a mark on the track, but it’s Roth who wins your attention from the first line. Tiffany Marsten is on point with a guitar solo near the song’s end that match the vocal intensity without ever obscuring its part in making the track’s success. I love how the band ties everything together in a sensible, yet undeniably powerful package – nothing is neglected here, nothing left to chance.
“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” will surprise you and has the sort of potential that crosses genre lines. It’s easy to imagine metal and classic rock fans alike hearing something in this cover that brings a smile to their face or rivets their attention – Black 9 makes it a point to balance the needs of keeping some measure of the original’s feel and structure while still stamping their own personality on the song. That’s a rare achievement on its own. It’s my first exposure to the band and my first time listening to the song confounded what I expected in a major way, but follow up plays only enhanced its appeal. Rather than following the example of established acts in the genre, Black 9 is pursuing their own path and producing music beholden to no one. Success awaits them and they’ll enjoy its fruits all the more because they will earn it on their own terms.
by Joshua Corbin
The music of BLACK9 has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik Radio Promotions. Learn more – HTTPS://musikandfilm.com