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


A Silver Mt. Zion


Post Rock/Math rock

3.68 | 70 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars You know, I’ve been listening to this one for a while now waiting for it to click. So far that hasn’t happened. Unlike most of the other releases from A Silver Mt. Zion and Antiestablishment Glee Club Mounted Reveries Dog Mushing Cult, or whatever their handle is today, this one just doesn’t stand up and demand that you pay attention to it. I’d compare it to ‘This is our Punk-Rock, Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing’ in terms of its lack of advancement of the Silver Mt Zion sound. But while that one was at least experimental in many ways, here Menuck relies very heavily on his trademark drone- riff guitar and affected vocals, sometimes at the expense of the contributions of the other band members. The longstanding string section of Thierry Amar, Sophie Trudeau, Jessica Moss and Rebecca Foon almost get buried at times, and there are few of the beautifully haunting string-laced crescendos or extended forays that made the band so distinctive in the early part of this century.

I didn’t even know these guys were still together until I saw a video of a 2007 concert recently, so when this one released I was actually caught a bit by surprise. The opening title “1,000,000 Died to Make this Song” sounded promising enough, but except for a couple minutes in the latter part of the song where Trudeau and Moss can be heard fiddling furiously despite every effort by Menuck to drown them out, I found the track to be wholly uninspiring both musically and lyrically. It seems perhaps Menuck has been angry for so long that he may have forgotten what for, and in some ways risks become a self- caricature if he doesn’t find a more articulate way of expressing exactly what it is that pisses him off (or inspires him, whichever).

The title track is much better musically with undulating percussive rhythm and crisp sound, but the numerous extended refrains of Menuck rambling behind his guitar with little else but gentle snare drums and bass make the thing seem way too long, which it probably is. It reminds me of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s much too long swan-songs on ‘Yanqui U.X.O.’, where it also appeared Menuck was losing interest in the project even before the group called it quits. One has to wonder if that’s what is happening here as well.

That said, “Black Waters Blowed/Engine Broke Blues” is the one song where the group clicks, but only because they seem to have recaptured almost exactly the same sound they had on 2001’s ‘Born Into Trouble…’. I have to say though that resurrecting a seven year old sound is not what I would call blazing new musical ground.

“Blindblindblind” sounds quite self-indulgent and gratuitous by comparison, much in the same way the opening track on ‘This is our Punk-Rock…’ did. That song ruined that album right off the bat in my opinion; while this one, coming at the end and somewhat offset by a lively closing four minutes simply fails to add anything to an already lackluster release.

One thing about post-rock is that the people who listen to this music are looking for something out-of- the-ordinary. That not only means artists who blaze a trail for themselves well apart from the musical mainstream, but ones who also continually reinvent themselves. A Silver Mt Zion hasn’t done that here, despite having had three years to make the attempt. They are still better than most of the music that’s out there today, but for them this is just average stuff, and I for one had expected better. Three stars.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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