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Black Mountain - Black Mountain CD (album) cover

BLACK MOUNTAIN

Black Mountain

 

Crossover Prog

2.95 | 27 ratings

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TCat
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.

TCat | 3/5 |

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