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A Silver Mt. Zion - This Is Our Punk-Rock, Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing CD (album) cover


A Silver Mt. Zion


Post Rock/Math rock

3.30 | 52 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars The Best SMZ Album!

This is not only their most progressive, but most musical and most emotional album. I am shocked by the lower scores for this here. This sees the band writing extended epics - one on each side of the double vinyl album - and in turn developing their musical ideas over longer overlapping themes with quieter, sensitive violin and guitar compositions, while still remaining true to their post-apocalyptic post-punk ethos. Each of the four pieces on this album is unique and distinct - not only from each other, but from the rest of their catalogue. Side 1 ("So Some Lonesome Corners So Many Flowers Bloom") features a rag-tag improvised choir and a slow-building crescendo that is very musical despite representing an almost free experiment. The song is very hypnotic and beautiful, almost in a Floydian way (indeed, sections of this piece actually remind me of (though very different from) Atom Heart Mother). Side 2 ("Babylon Was Built On Fire/Starsnostars") is to my mind SMZ's most musical song (not only on this album, but their entire catalogue). It begins with some amazing soundscapes, slowly introducing the main themes. The vocals are here are very effective, slowly building until each of the song's different themes are all being sung at once by different singers, bouncing off each other in a beautiful rag-tag counterpoint of overlapping melodies. Awesome music! Side 3 ("American Motor Over Smoldered Field") is another of SMZ's most musical songs ever. Containing some rare but beautiful (in a post-apocalyptic way!) vocal harmonies, the song remains subdued for the first 4.5 minutes, but then the drums and bass/cello/guitar pulses kick in. Check out the section that begins just before the 9 min mark which then continues to the end with the 'choir' singing the lyrical theme. So innovative yet deeply musical and emotional music. Side 4 ("Goodbye Desolate Railyard"), characterized by acoustic guitar finger-picking in a major key overlaid with piano and sunrise-violin lines, has a very American feel to it. Very happy-sad melancholy, shifting into musique concrette with thunderstorm and railway soundscapes, and then back to the main theme on acoustic guitar with the key lyric then repeated by the band. While I find the other three sides to be even stronger, this is a great closer for this great, original album. Of course, you have to like Efrim's/the bands' tortured, out of key singing, and this one will take a few listens before the underlying musicality emerges (you are probably not likely to get it on first listen). But this is definitely worth the effort. For me, this is the second-best album out of the entire GYBE/SMZ catalogue, after "Lift Yer Skinny Fists like Antennas to Heaven". I give this 9.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 5 PA stars. One of the most original, authentic, innovative, musical and moving albums.

Walkscore | 5/5 |


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