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Black Mountain

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Black Mountain In the Future album cover
3.48 | 61 ratings | 8 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stormy High (4:33)
2. Angels (3:07)
3. Tyrants (8:02)
4. Wucan (6:02)
5. Stay Free (4:29)
6. Queens Will Play (5:16)
7. Evil Ways (3:26)
8. Wild Wind (1:42)
9. Bright Lights (16:41)
10. Night Walks (3:57)

Total Time 57:15

Bonus CD from 2008 SE:
1. Bastards of Light (5:09)
2. Thirteen Walls (7:07)
3. Black Cat (2:51)

Total Time 15:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Amber Webber / vocals, percussion
- Stephen McBean / vocals, acoustic & electric guitars
- Jeremy Schmidt / organ, synth, Mellotron
- Matthew Camirand / bass
- Joshua Wells / drums, percussion, piano, Mellotron

- Ryan Peters / backing vocals (1)
- Sean Hawryluk / backing vocals (1)
- The East Van Ladies' Chorus / backing vocals (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Jeremy Schmidt

CD Jagjaguwar ‎- JAG90 (2008, US)
2CD Scratch Records ‎- SCRATCH RECORDS #59 (2008, Canada) Bonus CD with 3 tracks

2LP Jagjaguwar ‎- JAG90 (2008, US)

Digital album

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BLACK MOUNTAIN In the Future ratings distribution

(61 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BLACK MOUNTAIN In the Future reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Slow, slumbering psychedelic rock n´ roll caterpillar

This band pushes all the right buttons for me. Rocking guitars mainly riff driven (for all you aficionados who needs splintering unbelievable high soaring solos, this is not the place...), thumbing walking bass, slow creepy-crawley organs, tight 50-60´s drumming tied together with the twin vocals of what sounds like Grace Slick in her prime with Jefferson Airplane together with Jack White of The White Stripes.

Recalling a scorchingly hot summers day last August, dazing on the beach just north of Copenhagen in what most people here in Denmark call the "Whiskey-belt", because of the abundance of folks who have cars of gold, exotic pythons as guard dogs, sneeze in their money and live in larger than life castles, that would make for great viewing in the sort of MTV cribs television. -Anyway, we had with us a huge stereo chuck full of - well let´s just say alternative music attacking the beach side with tunes very unfamiliar from the drum n´ bass that usually dominates the airwaves. This album got about 6 or 7 spins, and it was like a great sorting machine - collecting long haired freaks from the darkest corners of the beach, as well as a handful of "rock chicks" that jump at anything showcasing a female voice (you know who you are Björk fans)... Whenever "Tyrants" got played, the loud cries and otherwise disturbing chit chat from the sands around us quieted down, and you could feel how they got swept away by the music. It starts out crushingly loud like a herd of wild buffaloes - changing suddenly into laid back soft singing transforming the song completely, and to those of us who know our rock n´ roll history will pick up the tiny acoustic ode to "Stairway to Heaven" that follows. The song crashes into some of the most beautiful female vocals, that I promise you - once heard, you will never forget it. Kind of reminds me of "War Pigs" live, when the crowd sings "Uuuuuuhh Uuuuuhhh" along with the guitar at the end. An instant hit for sure... Another favourite of mine is "Bright Lights" that really shows the psychedelic side of Black Mountain´s music, and clocking in at about 17 minutes this should arouse even the most rusty wine gummy prog boner... (-Even if they use a couple of those min on ambient noise)

This is not an album with great virtuosos and faster than light time changing signatures of any kind. It is however an honest album with heart and soul, that at times rips through the dull and enclosing jail bars of everyday life. A must for old school psychedelic mice, Zeppelin balloon people, proggy beavers and the likes who enjoy their beach music slow and brooding like a caterpillar up your misses thigh...

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "In the Future" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Canadian hard rock/psychadelic rock act Black Mountain. It was released through Jagjaguwar in January 2008. The band made a name for themselves within retro rock circles with their 2005 self-titled debut full-length studio album, and they worked hard on this album to follow up the hype which was created around them.

The sound on "In the Future" is retro styled late 60s/early 70s hard rock/psychadelic rock. Lots of vintage keyboards, hard rocking guitars and a tight playing rhythm section. I´m thinking a combination of Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath (the more hard rock oriented part of their 70s material) and Jefferson Airplane. The latter mostly because of the use of both male and female vocals and the occasionally stoned West Coast sound. The musicianship are generally on a high level, both instrumentally and when it comes to the vocals.

"In the Future" succeeds well in having a great balance and flow throughout the 57:15 minutes long playing time. There are hard rocking tracks like "Stormy High" and "Evil Ways", psychadelic pop/rock tunes like "Angels" and "Stay Free", the two female vocal led and rather dark tracks "Queens Will Play" and "Night Walks", the short David Bowie-like "Wild Wind", the two semi-progressive tracks "Tyrants" and "Wucan" and of course the centerpiece of the album the 16:41 minutes long "Bright Lights". The latter is an outstanding track that show exactly what kind of material Black Mountain are made of. Hard rocking iron and psychadelic dreams.

"In the Future" is packed in an organic sounding production, which works perfectly with the equally organic sounding music. The debut might have put Black Mountain on the map, and they have generally received a lot of praise for that album, but to my ears "In the Future" is like a 100% improvement over the debut and overall a really great album deserving a 4 star (80%) rating.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In The Future (2008) is the second album by Canadian 5-piece psychedelic/hard rock band Black Mountain. The album is a 10-song set containing some grindingly heavy, and at times complex, songs. In addition to the plentiful guitar riffs there's a shed-load of classic keyboards here, with two of the band credited with playing the Mellotron. By the way, three members of the band work for the Insite organisation, which provides a safe injection location for people with drug and mental health problems in Vancouver. So, respect to them for that.

The first track, Stormy High, consists of a pulverizing rhythm and an unforgettable Tony Iommi-inspired guitar riff. This in fact received the Bucky Award for 'Best Hook of 2008' from CBC Radio 3. With all due respect to the good people of Canada, the significance of this award is lost on a guy from Scotland (well, it's lost on me anyway) but I guess it's a nice achievement. It is definitely a great riff though. Angels is altogether more laid back, although the drums are still pretty loud, and there's some nice Mellotron (strings and flute) here. Black Mountain has drawn comparisons with Jefferson Airplane, I suppose in part due to the combination of male and female vocals. I don't know the Jefferson's well enough to comment on that (something I'll have to rectify!), but I wasn't initially impressed with some of the lethargic, stoned-out vocals on this. However I'm getting to like them the more I listen, and they do suit the music surprisingly well. Track 3, Tyrants, is the first of the more complex pieces on the album. It begins with thunderous bass/drums and ominous- sounding Mellotron that essay in subdued vocal and acoustic sections. The powerhouse drumming then returns along with some blistering guitar work from Stephen McBean (with that name, he must surely be Scottish!) and finally a reprise of the acoustic section. Darn it's good.

The near raga Wucan features synthesizer and Mellotron against a trance-like rhythm, with guitar flaring up intermittently. Stay Free is a largely acoustic ballad that was featured in the Spiderman III soundtrack. Female vocalist Amber Webber sings alone on a couple of songs, the first of these being Queens Will Play. This song also contains more guitar in the style of Tony Iommi, this time sounding subdued but edgy. The underlying tension is finally released in the closing few seconds of the track once the drums are let loose. Evil Ways (not the Santana song) features more forceful drumming and guitar soloing but is my least favourite track, while the brief Wild Wind is a sing-along ballad featuring fuzzed-out guitar. That brings us to the centrepiece of the album, the near 17-minutes Bright Lights. Back in the day, a track this length would have been exceptional whereas nowadays it's hardly worthy of note. Bright Lights is densely structured with extended instrumental excursions involving bruising bass and snarling guitar... actually, I'm not going to try to navigate the reader through every twist and turn of this song. My suggestion would be for the reader to just buy the album and listen for them self. Night Walks is the final track and the second to feature Amber Webber going solo. It's an ambient and reassuring way to finish the album.

I haven't heard Black Mountain's debut as yet, so I can't comment on how the band has progressed. However from the evidence of this, the notoriously 'difficult' sophomore album, they're definitely heading in the right direction. This is somewhere between good and excellent, so I'll give it 3 stars.

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'In The Future' - Black Mountain (6/10)

After being introduced to Black Mountain through their rather pathetic self-titled debut, my hopes certainly were not up when coming to the band's second album, 'In The Future'. I was expecting yet another series of poorly composed songs and whiny presentation (along with another opportunity to write an angry review), but with their second, Black Mountain has indeed surprised me. I was not expecting some decent stoner rock and competent psychedelic jams, but this is what I have received with 'In The Future'. While still nothing special or standout as an album, Black Mountain has really turned their act around, going from an amateurish indie sound to a much more energetic stoner rock sound that works much better. Nothing particularly impresses me still, but 'In The Future' is a step- hell- ten steps in the right direction for this Canadian band.

With 'In The Future', virtually everything has been improved. Everything from the vocals to the guitar riffs to the songwriting has been upped in quality, and this is much to my pleasant surprise. Besides the song 'Stay Free' (which was featured on a Spiderman film soundtrack, hence the band's moderate fame), there is no song here that leaves much of an impression, instead making for a pleasant, but none too deep listen. 'Stay Free' is probably the greatest point of interest here, seeing as it is the only song of the band's that has met many ears. It is a fairly basic acoustic ballad, with the male vocalist crooning like Neil Young, and for the most part, it works pretty well. Even so, the musical highlight here would probably be 'Bright Lights', where the band tries their hand at 'epic' psychedelia; a sixteen minute jam of sorts that starts out like a Black Mountain typical, but works into a fairly soundscapy freakout from the band. Fairly good stuff.

Maybe the best thing here are the female vocals of Amber Webber, who sounds like a dead ringer for Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane. While this robs Black Mountain of any hint of originality (they still revert to a retrogressive rock sound for the most part), Webber's voice has a great vibrato to it, and gives the band more of a nostalgic charm. I am still not entirely impressed by the band's work, but 'In The Future' has certainly saved Black Mountain from being considered a total dud in my books.

Review by stefro
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.


Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Black Mountain's "In the Future" is the place to go if you are looking for a more recent brand of 70's stoner rock. This is a combination of Jefferson Airplane and Deep Purple with shades of Led Zeppelin and grungy style rock that sticks to it's bluesy roots. This is music along the same lines as White Stripes/Jack White and Band of Skulls, but with more progressive leanings similar to Bigelf. Yet, it is not a copy of any of those bands, it is original enough to be it's own style. The feel is a little dark for the most part, and like I said, it remains true to it's blues roots, so it is mostly a slower paced rock. The guitar hooks are authentic and believable, the vocals are in the stoner style. This is great stuff.

This album really develops the sound that Black Mountain was striving for in their debut album, and the band really hits their mark on this album. There is the singable track "Angels", the dark sounds of "Wuccan", the amazing epic-ness of "Bright Lights" which contains a lot of progressive sound and a gigantic organ and guitar combination of soloing that will convince you that you are listening to a real rock band of the 70's, but with an alternative edge. There is the beautiful album closer which features Amber's lovely vocals almost acapella with minimalistic droning organ sounds which is later joined by beautiful harmonics. This is music that will satisfy your hunger for the stoner sound of the early 70s.

It's pretty basic progressive music, it's nothing really fancy or groundbreaking. The most progressive track is the 16 minute "Bright Lights", which actually drags for the first 4 minutes but erupts into retro bliss after that point, and even has a nice space rock sound in the middle instrumental bridge, before the organ and guitar interplay on the last part of the track. The entire album is quite enjoyable however and all of the track contain some very convincing sounds. Also, since there are 3 lead singers in the band, you definitely get a nice variation in the music from one track to the other.

The deluxe edition of this album contains 3 more additional tracks that follow the same trend, and each track could have easily fit comfortably on the regular album. "Thirteen Walls" has a folky sound with guitar that sounds almost like a sitar. This is a definite winner of a track with Amber's voice wailing spookily behind Stephen's main vocals before she joins him in harmony. After that, it breaks into an amazing guitar solo that will leave you breathless. This song alone is worth searching for the deluxe version.

Even though there is nothing groundbreaking on the album, it is still excellent enough to warrant 4 stars. This is definitely a band that was born too late, and I believe they would have been legends if they were around when this music was the popular sound of the day. This is also an album I return to many times when I'm in the mood for something "new" with that "old" sound. These guys should be as famous as the White siblings, but they have been passed over by the public for some reason. Maybe it is a little too retro for some tastes, but I love it. Highly recommended for those looking for new music with the sound of the classics from the 70s. Great stuff.

Latest members reviews

2 stars I bought this album on a whim at the used CD store as I always pick up one or two I've seen listed in progarchives but never heard. This is one I wish I would have left at the store. I would describe it as "retro minimalist Deep Purple" with smatterings of other groups. I feel all the instr ... (read more)

Report this review (#256364) | Posted by AmbianceMan | Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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