When it comes to making a cover song feel like an original, no artist is perfect, but Black 9 come about as close as anyone can with their cover of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which is out now everywhere that independent heavy music can be streamed and sold. Black 9 take the core pieces from the original, which featured heavyweights Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty sharing the duties at mic (for any millennial readers who might not be aware), and refurbish them to suit their expansive, larger than life alt-metal sound. Anyone who came looking for an all-out nü metal version of a classic rock ballad will be a little disappointed in what they find in this single, which in my opinion is much more dexterously designed and brilliantly produced than anything that you could ever even hope to find amongst artists of the nü metal persuasion. Black 9 pour everything they’ve got into this song, and as a result render something that is quite possibly even more evocative and stirring than any of us could have anticipated.
This mix is absolutely sublime from top to bottom. Transparency is a big thing in both music and our everyday lives in 2019, and within “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and the pristine, quality production that it sports, we’re able to not only analyze every detail that drives its melody, but also examine intricacies that bind the entire rhythm together. The tonality of the guitars is rich and fascinatingly un-scooped; as visceral and sleek as the basslines are, they’re fragile next to the hollow-point drumming and the unforgiving trail of chaos that is left in its wake.
Most metal groups like to bury their identity in a lot of fuzz, frills and unnecessary camp, but Black 9 doesn’t suffer from the same reticence nor aesthetical awkwardness. They’re more than comfortable in their own skin, and they play like it in this single. This isn’t a band that has yet to find their sound; this is a power trio that is confident in their skills and have long-discovered a secret weapon within their own repertoire.
Full of grooves that will crater your speakers and enormous riffs that satisfy metalheads and hard rock fans just the same, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” is a startlingly erudite cover of a legacy rock track that truly needs no introduction. While Black 9 may not be a household name right now, producing songs as fun as this one will definitely play a role in changing that in the future. Black 9 have a devilishly addictive sound, and while their style borrows from their influences enough to tell what sort of vinyl they like to spin on a Saturday night, there’s nothing defining in their craftsmanship that makes them anything less but an authentic, true blue rock unit that is more than worthy of our respect. There’s not a lot of bands that we can still say that about, but even when it couldn’t look much bleaker for rock n’ roll as we know it, groups like this one are keeping the flame alive, one raging riff at a time.
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