While I haven’t seen Black Oak County live – the promo album is my first time listening to them – if I did I’m pretty sure they’d blow me out the back of the theater. The opener “Someone Else” just pounds you right from the start, and the music barely lets up the whole way!
In the modern hard rock style of Black Stone Cherry and Shinedown, this slickly produced CD is all set for radio. If anything I’d like to hear it down and dirty in a club somewhere. By the 4th track, “Mad Dog” I was hoping for a change, actually, but this turned out to be one of my two favorites. The riff is great, and the use of the whammy bar provided a nice change to the guitar fills. I learned this was their first single from the album, and in my opinion, they couldn’t have picked a better song to let everyone know what they’re about.
Without knowing anything about the band other than their sound, you would be surprised by their names. Niels Beier on guitar and vocals and Jack Svendsen on guitar occasionally present a double guitar sound, such as on “Rated R for Redneck”, which might be the best song title so far of 2017. They even make good use of the slide to give it a country edge. René Hjelm on bass adds to that driving modern rock sound, with a deep tone above the drums from Mike Svendsen, who has a heavy hand on the cymbals. In case you couldn’t guess, Black Oak County is from Esbjerg, Denmark. Formed in 2012, they have already headlined festivals in Denmark and been featured in Classic Rock Magazine.
My favorite track is “Save Me,” which sees the band taking a detour with a great bluesy riff and a matching solo that fits perfectly. In fact, the southern influences of a band like Monster Truck (southern Canada, eh) are evident here and on the rest of the album. I might have reorganized the tracks so similar songs weren’t so close together, but that’s why they invented the Shuffle button. The song “Laughing Crows” has a catchy chorus and a great solo, and the album ends strong with “Never Cared.” They even throw in a ballad for the sake of trying, and Beier can really sing, but this band is about power. Roll down the windows and turn it up!
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Black Oak County will be available Jan. 13th in Europe, Jan. 20th in the US and Jan. 25th.