Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Mount Salem - Endless (Album Review)




 

Album Type :  Full Length
Date Released : 4/3/2014
Label : Metal Blade Records

Endless, album track listing :

1). Good Times
2). The Tower
3). Lucid
4). Full Moon
5). Mescaline
6). Mescaline II
7). Hysteria
8). The End

Bio :

Hailing from Chicago, IL, Mount Salem is a four piece psychedelic rock / doom metal band. They started writing music together in the summer of 2012 and released their first EP, Endless, in the spring of 2013. The band puts a strong emphasis on tone and feeling in both their songs and live performances alike. Most of the band switched from their normal instruments and picked up new ones for this band and the result was much more natural than they had hoped for.

Taking influence from the classics like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, they play loud, heavy rock and roll using all vintage gear. Throwing their own twist of dark and mysterious doom into the music, they invite the listener to step into their sinister realm. The imagery in the lyrics will take you on a ride in which you won’t know whether to be scared or grab a sword and join the battle. "Endless feels like it's trapped in the nightmarish head-space of a psychic medium on a bad trip"  – Mister Growl of MisterGrowl.com

Mount Salem has toured the Midwest, South, and East coasts. Sharing the stage with bands such as Windhand, Weedeater, Bongripper, LO-Pan, Mothership, and Howl, Mount Salem has fit on a wide variety of heavy shows and brings a live act to counter their music. "This is music that creates images, demands attention, and engages all senses." – Mister Growl of MisterGrowl.com

Metal Blade Records signed the band in the summer of 2013 and will release an extended version of Endless containing two additional, brand-new tracks in the spring of 2014, which will be followed by a West Coast tour. Mount Salem is currently touring and writing for a follow up full-length

The Band :

Emily Kopplin | Vocals & organ
Cody Davidson | Drums
Mark Hewett | Bass
Kyle Morrison | Guitars


Review :

Chicago based Mount Salem, now on Metal Blade records, know how to write songs. They have the riffs and the hooks- also the arrangements. The band fall into the doom category- with some psych influences- but they don't opt for meandering lengthy wanderings, instead offering up fairly concise compositions- in the first half of the record especially.

Good Times is a weighty opener with a strong main riff. The Tower follows with a more expansive approach. The hooks are pure Sabbath, the vocals of Emily Kopplin are strong and distinctive. To be clear, this is heavy stuff- the riffs have real weight behind them; the songs get an added dimension of vocal melody. Lucid starts with a swinging groove with a real pile driving sense of rhythm behind it.

The effect is one of seventies amps being cranked up and run hot while cymbals get beaten into submission. Dynamics are used to good effect- again giving a real seventies vibe to proceedings. Full Moon marks the album's half way point and takes a more measured approach- presumably to break the record up a little prior to the second side/half. A slow burner, the song strays well over the six minute mark, but this allows it to build effectively, picking up the pace considerably as the full band and snare kicks in. Time changes are used to good effect- particularly when the band slows down for the final doom stomp.

Mescaline changes things up with a rather shimmery electric piece- organ courtesy of Kopplin- that sets a mood of melancholy and space. Its sequel follows in the form of Mescaline II and crushes all before it with a riff of some power. The bass tone of Mark Hewett is particularly pleasing and underpins the track well as do Cody Davidson's drums- playing it straight and powerful. Kyle Morrison offers up some more expansive guitar work on the track due to the solid foundation allowing him to spread his wings a little more than usual. The wah solo is a treat, too. The track truly soars.

Hysteria (not a Def Leppard cover) plods ominously into ear shot and employs dynamics and insistent pacing to press the song forwards. Again, the organ adds some real texture to this one as the band plays very cohesively. The End is an appropriately named closer to the record and has a wonderful snaky riff. Again, the vibe is very retro here, but still heavy; old school heavy.

Comparisons are obvious to draw, but suffice it to say that if you like your doom with a seventies preference and warm sounds then it would be well worth your while to check this one out. Great songs, played by a great band, recorded well and offering up just the right amount of heavy and psychedelic vibes.  

Words by : Richard Maw

You can buy it here
 


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