Black Mountain - In The Future
Label: Jagjaguwar – JAG90
Format:2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, 180 grm Gatefold
Released: 22 Jan 2008
Style: Blues Rock, Space Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Indie Rock
A1 Stormy High
Backing Vocals – Ryan Peters, Sean Hawryluk
B2 Stay Free
B3 Queens Will Play
B4 Evil Ways
C1 Wild Wind
Backing Vocals – East Van Ladies' Chorus, The
C2 Bright Lights
D1 Night Walks
Artwork By [Graphic Scenes] – J. Schmidt
Bass – Matthew Camirand
Drums, Percussion, Piano, Mellotron – Joshua Wells
Lyrics By – Amber Webber (tracks: 10), Stephen McBean (tracks: 1 to 9)
Mastered By – Greg Calbi
Mixed By – Dave Sardy (tracks: 5), John Congleton (tracks: 1 to 4, 6 to 10)
Music By – Black Mountain
Organ, Synthesizer, Mellotron – Jeremy Schmidt
Producer – Black Mountain (tracks: 1 to 4, 6 to 10), D. Sardy (tracks: 5)
Recorded By – Colin Stewart (tracks: 4, 6 to 10), D. Sardy (tracks: 5), Sheldon Zaharko (tracks: 1 to 3)
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar [Electric] – Stephen McBean
Vocals, Percussion – Amber Webber
With In the Future, the Vancouver, BC-based retro-rock act Black Mountain has really worked through its influences, delivering a classic slab of new stoner/headphone rock. The band's eponymous debut treaded through the catalog of many a classic rock and folk artist's greatest hits album, picking the best bits from Deep Purple and Black Sabbath here, Mountain and Thin Lizzy there, as if these kids' folks had good taste in Big Rock, but not much else.
Black Mountain exists in a swirl of heavy, grimy, vaguely psychedelic hard-rock, redolent of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin (with maybe a touch of the Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd).
And the band is in fine shape in their sophomore album "In The Future" -- they introduce some new musical twists, while still keeping their signature sound. It's a powerful, intense collection of hard-rockers, but with a few softer songs sprinkled in to show their range.
It opens with a grimy riff, a dark stomping bassline, and some smashing drums -- and for a minute, the appropriately-named "Stormy High" whips itself into a barely-restrained frenzy. When Stephen McBean's wailing vocals join the mix, the song straightens out into a solid, intense rocker that blasts its way down, reeking of classic rock concerts and apocalyptic fury.
Having reeled you in, Black Mountain turns out the bluesy "Angels," with McBean lamenting, "Come on, lay your head on down/angels, lay your arms around/every city's singing saddened songs...." And that quieter song is echoed in some of the others -- mournful folkiness, haunting fuzzy songs, or the ethereal closing lament "Night Walks."
But they haven't abandoned the harder music, thankfully. This is where their real power erupts out -- simmering hard-rock, gritty psychedelica wound with synth, stormy twisting electro-metal, and the penultimate song -- a seventeen-minute epic journey through explosive hard-rock, solemn organ instrumentals, and an earsplitting finale.
Whoo. What a ride. It's been only three years since Black Mountain came out with their self-titled album and EP -- it was great music, but still raw and unformed. They've obviously done a lot of work in that time, because "In the Future" is a whole different beast -- they're more polished, focused and eclectic in their sounds.
Like any good hard-rock album, it's got loads of twisting, undulating riffs and heavy basslines, fused into strong, muscular melodies -- also mix in smashing drums, tambourine, some somnolent organ, and acoustic guitar. And the band can switch styles in an instant -- for instance, "Tyrants" effortlessly flips between wistful Renaissancey ballads, and epic, powerful sweeps of hard-rock.
Also take note: there's a lot more synth in this album than in their previous one. It's all very early 1970s -- colourful psychedelic ribbons wound through "Wucan," plenty of harmonium, and strangled keyboard notes.
McBean's voice hasn't changed, though -- he's still high and waily, and in the louder songs he sounds like he's leading an army ("The heart it waaaas/howling in the heavens... we will come together!"). He shares vocal time with Amber Webber, whose smooth wistful voice sounds at home whether she's dueting with him, or singing the softer songs by herself.
"In the Future" is the natural evolution of Black Mountain -- a powerful, polished, intense retro-rock collection. This is one mountain that's worth scaling all the way.
Black Mountain - Angels
this is my favourite canadian band besides the tragically hip
This band must be the most underated of all time!!!!! They are great.... Great lyrics, great melody
Black Mountain - Tyrants
Amber Webber is a great singer and adds a lot to the band.
Black Mountain - Stormy High (live 04.06.2008
Led Zeppelin meets Uriah Heep.
Yep, your mind has been blown by black mountain just like the rest of us
Black Mountain - Bright Lights
Awesome song. It's hard to find music made in this decade to be excited about, but this tune is that.
Black Mountain - Wucan
best psychedelic, stoner song I've ever heard in my life.