Black Mountain


(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Black Mountain (2005), 6/10
In the Future (2008), 6.5/10
Pink Mountaintops: Pink Mountaintops (2004), 5/10
Pink Mountaintops: Axis Of Evol (2006), 5/10
Pink Mountaintops: Outside Love (2009), 5/10
Lightning Dust: Lightning Dust (2007), 4.5/10
Lightning Dust: Infinite Light (2009), 4.5/10
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Vancouver-based combo Black Mountain, the brainchild of Stephen McBean, worked at the edge of psychedelic-rock and hard-rock, like many of their contemporaries who fell in love with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, but Black Mountain do it in a friendlier mold.

The album Black Mountain (Jagjaguwar, 2005), featuring harmonies a` la Jefferson Airplane with female singer Amber Webber, relied on huge guitar riffs, notably for Druganaut (their debut single), Modern Music and No Satisfaction (with echoes of the Velvet Underground). Mostly they sounded like a more tuneful version of Electric Wizard, adopting a retro sound without being too progressive. The main experiments appeared in the eight-minute psychodrama Heart of Snow and the electronica-tinged No Hits. It was well packaged, but a bit predictable.

McBean also played in the Pink Mountaintops, that debuted with The Pink Mountaintops (Jagjaguwar, 2004), basically a concept about sex. Axis Of Evol (Jagjaguwar, 2006) delved into psychedelic folk with the nine-minute power-ballad Slaves and several brief litanies; but McBean excelled at the numbers that more closely recalled Black Mountain, such as Cold Criminals (yet another variation on the Velvet Underground), New Drug Queens, Lord Let Us Shine.

Black Mountain's In the Future (Jagjaguwar, 2008) includes the 17-minute progressive suite Bright Lights, but it's the eight-minute Tyrants that packs the most intense atmosphere. The shorter songs pale in comparison with these two titans, and it's not the hard-rock of Stormy High that survives but the ghostly Night Walks. Less derivative than the debut, this is the album that justifies the hype.

The Pink Mountaintops' third album Outside Love (Jagjaguwar, 2009) was the humblest of the trio, timidly exploring the dissonant pop of Execution while exploiting Outside Love, a duet with Jesse Sykes, but mostly relying on singalongs such as Holiday and Vampire.

Black Mountain's Amber Webber and Joshua Wells launched the side-project Lightning Dust with Lightning Dust (2007) and Infinite Light (2009) to play romantic country-pop ballads (Never Seen and Waiting on the Sun to Rise on the latter).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Tobia D’Onofrio)

Il combo di Vancouver Black Mountain, partorito dalla mente di Stephen McBean, si muove ai confini di rock psichedelico e hard-rock, come molti dei loro contemporanei innamoratisi di Black Sabbath e Led Zeppelin, solo che i Black Mountain lo fanno con una tempra più vantaggiosa.

L’album Black Mountain (Jagjaguwar, 2005), che presenta armonie alla Jefferson Airplane con la cantante donna Amber Webber, fa affidamento su massicci riff di chitarra, in particolare Druganaut (il singolo di debutto), Modern Music e No Satisfaction (con echi dei Velvet Underground). Per lo più suonano come una versione più armoniosa di Electric Wizard, adottando un sound retro senza essere troppo progressive. Gli esperimenti principali si trovano negli otto minuti di psicodramma Heart Of Snow e in No Hits, che si tinge di elettronica. Ben confezionato, ma un po’ prevedibile.

McBean suona anche nei Pink Mountaintops, che debuttano con The Pink Mountaintops (Jagjaguwar, 2004), in pratica un concept album sul sesso. Axis Of Evol (Jagjaguwar, 2006) investiga il folk psichedelico con la power ballad di nove minuti Slaves e diverse brevi litanie; ma McBean eccelle nei numeri che ricordano maggiormente i Black Mountain, come Cold Criminals (ancora un’altra variazione sui Velvet Underground), New Drug Queens, Lord Let Us Shine.

In The Future (Jagjaguwar, 2008) dei Black Mountain include i 17 minuti di suite progressive Bright Lights, ma sono gli otto minuti di Tyrants che raccolgono l’atmosfera più intensa. Le canzoni più corte impallidiscono a confronto con questi due titani, e non è l’hard-rock di Stormy High a sopravvivere ma la spettrale Night Walks. Essendo inoltre meno derivativo rispetto al disco di debutto, questo è l’album che giustifica la spinta pubblicitaria.

Stephen McBean of Black Mountain and Imaad Wasif of Lowercase formed Grim Tower and released the freak-folk album Anarchic Breezes (Outer Battery, 2013).
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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