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Black Mountain - In the Future CD (album) cover

IN THE FUTURE

Black Mountain

 

Crossover Prog

3.38 | 35 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars One of the 21st century's prime retro-prog movers, Canadian outfit Black Mountain have served up a trio of excellent progressive-and-classic rock aligned albums since their 2005 debut, blending the fuzzy aggression of Sabbath, the cosmic ambience of Floyd, occasional nods to hard-riffin' metal, retro-psych flourishes and a smattering of folksy charm with a slick, sharp and powerful contemporary edge. Of the three it is perhaps 2008's 'In The Future', the group's second studio effort, which features the clearest link to the group's 1970s influences, though all three albums showcase their own distinct sonic personality that marks Black Mountain out as a talented and genuinely multi-faceted beast. Led by Stephen McBean(vocals, guitar) and featuring Amber Webber(vocals), Jeremy Schmidt(keyboards), Matthew Camirand(bass) and Joshua Wells(drums), the group formed after initially meeting up at a Vancouver Methodone clinic where various members volunteered; as of 2012 they still do, McBean commenting that: "It keeps us grounded". After signing a deal with indie imprint Jagjaguwar, the group's eponymously-titled debut was issued in 2005 sporting an eclectic and fairly experimental mixture of styles characterized by the spacey electronica of 'No Hits' and the harsh, dissonant rock of 'Don't Run Our Hearts Around'. An impressive if somewhat uneven effort, 'Black Mountain' nevertheless earned the five-piece many plaudits whilst also cultivating a cult following that continues to grow. 'In The Future', however, found a group growing up and exhibiting real confidence in their sound. A heavier, darker, much more complex affair, the album eschewed the indie-rock undercurrents of their debut in favour of a more progressive sound made up of crunchy guitars, old school keyboards(mellotrons, moogs etc), pounding percussion and the coup-de-grace, Amber Webber's beautiful, Sandy Denny-inspired vocals which meld seamlessly with McBean's strained, smoky tone. Highlights on an album filled with many include the enchanting cosmic crawl of 'Angel', a track highlighting Webber's impressive vocal abilities, the brilliant rolling groove of the highly infectious rocker 'Wucan', and last but by no means least, the pulsating sixteen- minute-long 'Bright Lights' which finds Black Mountain mining four decades worth of rock into one bruising epic that showcases the group's uncanny ability to seamlessly combine the old with the new. And that's just the point. Despite featuring a sound drenched in their love of 1970s prog, mystic folk, sludgy metal and classic rock 'Black Mountain's sound is one that remains wonderfully fresh and vibrant. 'In The Future' is the album that should appeal to progressive rock fans the most, yet both their debut and follow-up release 'Wilderness Heart', which features a slightly more modern approach, are also highly-recommended. A powerful statement, 'In The Future' is the real sound of contemporary progressive rock. And it sounds f***ing great.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 4/5 |

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