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BLACK MOUNTAIN

Black Mountain

Crossover Prog


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Black Mountain Black Mountain album cover
2.94 | 25 ratings | 4 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Modern Music (2:44)
2. Don't Run Our Hearts Around (6:03)
3. Druganaut (3:47)
4. No Satisfaction (3:47)
5. Set Us Free (6:45)
6. No Hits (6:45)
7. Heart of Snow (7:59)
8. Faulty Times (8:37)

Total Time 46:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Stephen McBean / vocals, guitar
- Amber Webber / vocals
- Jeremy Schmidt / keyboards
- Matthew Camirand / bass
- Joshua Wells / drums

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
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BLACK MOUNTAIN Black Mountain ratings distribution


2.94
(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
4%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
52%
Good, but non-essential (36%)
36%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

BLACK MOUNTAIN Black Mountain reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Black Mountain" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by Canadian hard rock/psychadelic rock act Black Mountain. The album was released through Jagjaguwar in January 2005. "Black Mountain" features 8 tracks and a total playing time of 46:27 minutes. Black Mountain is a five-piece act with guitars, bass, drums and keyboards as the main instruments (there is a bit of sax on the album too). There are both male and female vocals on the album.

The music on the album is late 60s/early 70s retro styled rock. A band like Jefferson Airplane comes to mind very often during the albumīs playing time. Black Mountain is not a Jefferson Airplane clone though (Amber Webber is nowhere near Grace Slick in attitude and skills, although she is a decent enough vocalist). The musicianship are generally strong on the album and the interactions between the male and the female vocalists work well. I wouldnīt call the music on the album groundbreaking in any way but the quality of the material is pretty decent.

The album features an organic sound production, which provides the music with an authentic retro sound. So the album is a quality release on most parameters, but the lack of an original sound is a minor issue and itīs not all tracks that stand out equally much either, which is another slight issue. Fans of late 60s/early 70s retro styled rock and especially fans of Jefferson Airplane should probably find lots to enjoy there though. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars This is a pretty solid attempt at modern psychedelic rock, clearly influenced by Black Sabbath and Jefferson Airplane. The music is mainly slow to mid-tempo with fat, syrupy guitars dominating the proceedings. The vocals alternate between male and female. The lead singer and songwriter, Stephen McBean has a decent voice, but I much prefer the vocals of his counterpart, Amber Webber. Her voice has a slightly hazy, drugged out quality that would be disturbing in a friend, but works well with the music. Actually, her singer rather reminds me of Judy Garland for reasons I can't quite explain. And that's a good thing.

Standout tracks include Don't Run Our Hearts Around, a slow metal dirge that picks up steam towards the end and rocks far harder than anything else on the record. Also, Set Us Free and Heart of Snow are attractive for their lyrical melodies and somewhat desperate delivery. You can feel the pain behind them. Unfortunately, these are balanced out by a few missteps like the overly cutesy Modern Music and the downright bad No Hits. Still, it's an enjoyable record and somewhat of a refreshing throwback in these modern times.

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Black Mountain' - Black Mountain (3/10)

The debut record from this Vancouver-based psychedelic hard rock band, 'Black Mountain' starts the group of the same name on a three album journey that would arguably culminate with a song of theirs being featured on a Spiderman movie soundtrack. In any case, they have remained of interest to the psych rock underground, although if this debut is much of an indicator as to the quality of the rest of their music, I would be hard pressed to figure out why. Over the course of eight tepid tracks, Black Mountain presents themselves as a mix of recycled retro rock riffs and new school indie whine. Although a few of the less songwriting-based elements of the band's sound show a glimmer of promise, 'Black Mountain' has left me feeling doubtful about whether or not checking out the rest of the band's work is worth it at all.

Although travelling back to the 70's or 60's is a fairly stapled trait with so-called progressive rock, there are usually other things going on in the music that make it worth the trip. Black Mountain starts off their album with a plodding indie rock mess of songs, starting with 'Modern Music' and, where the painfully simplistic blues riffs, poorly executed tenor saxophone, and a whiny drone of a vocal performance going off about some equally poor lyrics. Hearing what sounds like a de-clawed Arcade Fire sing a fairly meaningless sequence of numbers makes me cringe, and the male to female vocals here constantly sound like a pathetic knock off of that band.

Luckily, Black Mountain begins to break out of their pathetic retro indie rock sound by the time 'No Hits' rolls around, and while the last three songs are still nothing special, they do show some promise as hymns of retro psychedelia. 'Heart Of Snow' is without a doubt, the greatest thing that the band offers here, a slow and simple acoustic track that finally uses the female vocals somewhat well, and carries some melancholic emotion to it. But with so much throwback hippie nonsense to speak of on the record, there is little to no reason to recommend it to anyone. I can only hope that Black Mountain focuses on their more successful traits with their future albums, or I can expect to write some more negative things about them, if at all.

Review by TCat
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is the debut album from the band "Black Mountain", released in 2005. The band leader, Stephen McBean, came from a punk/noise rock background with leanings toward a stoner/psychedelic sound. As he grew in the music industry, his sound matured until he formed this band. The sound is a retro 70's style with alternative and later progressive leanings. The guitars are nice and heavy, the sound is a little dark, and the sound has a great unpolished feel, so it almost takes you back to the late 60's, early 70's era.

There is this really great interaction between the two lead singers, Stephen and Amber Weller, who sounds almost like Grace Slick, but with a unique sound of her own. The music does reflect back to Jefferson Airplane, especially in this first album, but it still feels unique. However, the vocals are at their best when the vocalists sing separately, but the interaction and balance between the singers, many times in the same song, is one of the band's strengths.

Also apparent is songs that are not standard format songs, but have quite a bit of ingenuity to them, keeping them away from the tired and worn out format of verse/chorus structure. The music both feels retro but also current at the same time. It is accessible for the most part, but keeps on the edge of psychedelic throughout the album. The unpolished feel also keeps things very realistic.

On this album, you can hear the beginnings of a really promising band, but it has some weak moments and some meandering sections that might drag a little, but these are things the band would improve on in future albums. They would end up strengthening their good traits, and tighten up their sound on their 2nd album. So, this album might not be the best place to start looking into their music, but it is one that you will want to come back to.

The best part of the album is in the longer, more developed tracks. The songs can be more complex than your standard fare, and that is one of the attractions. The unpolished sound is also one of the things that make the retro sound more believable, and if you didn't know, you would think you were listening to a promising band that never quite made it in the 70s. The highlights here are in the instrumental breaks, and the tracks "Don't Run Our Hearts Around", "Druganaut", "Faulty Times" and the very dynamic "Heart of Snow" which alternates from beautiful and peaceful to harsh and heavy. It is a great album, but with it's share of flaws, so, like I said, try one of their other albums first, then come back to this one.

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