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Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart CD (album) cover


Black Mountain


Crossover Prog

3.48 | 40 ratings

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4 stars Wilderness Heart is Black Mountain's 3rd full album. Black Mountain is one of those bands that you think of when someone makes the statement, 'They don't have great rock bands like they used to.'. There are, of course, many great bands out there, you just have to sift through a lot more music than you used to. Black Mountain is one of those great bands that make music as great as the rock you remember from those bygone days. They are reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and so on, and if they were around the same time as these bands, they would be holding their own with them.

Black Mountain has two lead singers, Stephen McBean and Amber Webber. They sing both simultaneously and also taking turns. Their voices compliment each other well, and they both have great and distinctive voices that are easy to get used to. The music on this album is very blues based, and you can hear a lot of great keyboards like churning organs (as on 'Old Fangs') and heavy guitars (like on the progressive 'Rollercoaster'), just like you hear in those mega bands of the 70s. You even almost expect to hear Ozzy's voice on the song 'Let Spirits Ride' which is a hard rocker's dream, but then on the last instrumental break, you get surprised with an organ solo a la Deep Purple.

This album isn't quite as progressive as their last album 'In the Future', but it still has enough progressive elements to make it all worth while. Besides, the retro sound is so authentic, you probably won't even mind. 'Buried by the Blues' is a beautiful quasi-ballad with acoustic guitars and mellotron sounding keyboards. This basic sound continues into the next track, 'The Way to Gone', with more of a heavier beat which leads into an amazing guitar solo. The spooky sounding background vocals on this track give it the perfect atmosphere. 'Wilderness Heart' erupts immediately after with a heavy hook and churning bass that will remind you of great stoner rock. Amber's vibrato compliments the song giving one flashbacks of Grace Slick. Even though a little more development in the songs would have been welcome, there really are no weak tracks here, it's just one great track after another.

I make all these comparisons with older bands, but the music is original enough that the tunes are all unique and not merely copycat. The influences are all there, but Black Mountain's music feels like it deserves to be right next to the greats of the classic rock era. This is one band that deserves so much more attention, and they give hope that the best rock ever is still out there. I do wish this album was a little more progressive and that is the only thing keeping it from being a 5 star album, but it is done so well and the music is so enjoyable, that you hardly even notice. A little more development in the songs and longer solos would have been welcome also, but again, this is still a great album with a lot of surprises and quality hard rock that it still manages to get 4 stars.

TCat | 4/5 |


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