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Black Mountain - In The Future CD (album) cover


Black Mountain


Crossover Prog

3.47 | 55 ratings

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2 stars Ever the good Canadian, I bought IN THE FUTURE, by Vancouver nouveau-hippy, psychedelic stoner outfit Black Mountain after it was praised here on PA, and spotlighted in a Toronto record store as new music which would appeal to Led Zeppelin/Deep Purple fans. I'm a long-term fan of both of those seminal seventies heavies, so how do I find IN THE FUTURE? Well, it could certainly be classified as what used to be known as "hard rock," but I find it to be uninspired and overly derivative musically, and lyrically lame. I wanted to like this album, but I'm no longer 12, and it ain't 1972. I went on the old "demons and wizards" trip the first time round, and in more convincing company -- I don't care to fake it now. If I need a fix of hard-rock nostalgia, my Zep, Purple, Rainbow, Uriah Heep and Alice Cooper albums always await.

When bands seek to re-create the spirit, texture and feel of earlier exemplars of a musical form, they enter some tricky territory. They may well lure some younger listeners, and might even get the attention of older fans who yearn for the glory days of their long- gone youth, but they also risk sounding like second-rate imitators -- even plagiarists -- of those who invented the form. Regrettably for this 70s survivor, the latter case applies here. The man has definitely left the silver mountain.

Yeah, you get the shade of Jon Lord's organ, you get pounding drums, big guitars, and the recorder sound from Zep's "Stairway" plus "artful" acoustic accents, but you'll know all along that as with New Coke, it's just not the real thing. None of the riffs are particularly killer, and the singers (one male, one female) are an especially weak link, sounding half-asleep, half stoned. You'll find no Plant-ian, Gillan-esque or Byronic vocal pyrotechnics here! My biggest complaint, though, is with the overwhelmingly lame, school-boyish lyrics. Cringe-worthy, painfully clichéd lines such as "you've got to change your evil ways"(now where have I heard that before -- Santana, perhaps?), "you will die by the sword," "ride the wild wind... fight the demons at your door" and "blood sprawls across the walls" might wow the schoolyard set, but they make me snort in disbelief. (I'm not convinced that blood, as a liquid, even can "sprawl.") Still, like, hey man, isn't the image of gore-covered walls a real deep and cool one? Well, frankly, no -- it's not. I outgrew Dungeons & Drag-ons, and I've had a surfeit of short half-baked songs which go nowhere, along with over-long songs which end in abrupt "we don't know how to end this" fadeouts. Repeatedly chanting "bright light/light bright" might be great fun over a bowl of BC bud, but poetic or profound it ain't. Hard rock, alright -- hard to get into.

The ironically titled IN THE FUTURE (where it's all been done before -- and better, it seems) is sixty misbegotten, misspent minutes of empty, pretentious, unmemorable bombast. All bong smoke-on-the-water and mirrors, Black Mountain are akin to a dwarf shouting from the shoulders of a giant's statue, or a big wind breaking across the mouth of a long-drained bottle: full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing. Save your shekels for retirement, seniors. If you need something hard, blasting LZ4 or MACHINE HEAD in the Golden Years Sunset Rest Home will win you more points with that sexy seventy-something across the hall, anyway.

1.5 stars -- generously rounded up because the groovy cover art reminds me of my old Rubik's Cube.

Peter | 2/5 |


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