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A Silver Mt. Zion - 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons CD (album) cover


A Silver Mt. Zion


Post Rock/Math rock

3.70 | 76 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Rough, Ragged, but a Beautiful Closing Track.

Silver Mt Zion (SMZ) once again change direction with 13 Blues. Mostly jettisoning the more structured folky approach of 'Horses in the Sky', here they go for the jugular, opening with a full-on onslaught of sonic and lyrical heaviness. If on 'Horses' it seemed the band wanted everyone to hug ('Hold on to each other'), here they are in a more rough and tumble mood, probably the most rough of all of their albums. Perhaps they thought 'Horses' sounded too safe, or something, or perhaps they found themselves angered and discouraged. At the very least, such tension can be creatively productive, although on this album I am not sure it is channelled as well as it could have been on every track. Hence the roughness. The opener, '1,000,000 died to make this sound' is the most rough. Like a school teacher trying to get the class'es attention by dropping a garbage can or chair in the middle of the room, it opens with loud intermittent (drum) bangs, which then morph into a tortured slow, but loud and grungy, guitar-based theme full of distortion. The lyrics sound like a cry for help. It gets your attention - it MAKES you pay attention - although I don't find this first piece (all 14 minutes of it) very musical. The two middle pieces improve on this one. Although still ragged, they don't seem as drenched in anger, and are able to conjure up some evocative imagery and landscapes. The third track, ('Black Waters Bowed/Engine Broke Blues') is the better of these. Indeed, while 'Horses' began with its best tune (with the musical quality mostly decreasing with each subsequent tune), '13 Blues' gets better with each subsequent song. And the closing track, 'Blind Blind Blind', is excellent. Still very ragged and tortured, here this is really well channelled into the music and lyrics so the audience really feels it. Softer, and soulful, but hurt, it ends with a rousing repeated sing-along chorus whose melody sticks in your head. Very emotional and musical. On the whole, I find this album harder to take that any other SMZ album, although with the brilliant closing track it is better than 'Born into Trouble' (which really has no stand-out tracks). I give this one 6.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |


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