Black Mountain: album review and visions of the dawn

Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart album review

Two words, people. Black Mountain. Let me tell you why this underdog is something soaring somewhere between Zeppelin and  Sabbath on a tie-dye soaked astral plane riding in the most delicious friggin’ banana split you’ve tasted; then captured,  liquified, reduced to its essence, and lovingly applied to a generous hit of acid. Is your mouth watering like Pavlov’s dog yet?

Their third installment, Wilderness Heart, is a powerhouse of creativity from start to finish. Opening with “The Hair Song”, and never looking back, Black Mountain immediately grabs you with commanding guitar work and the symbiotic vocal duo of Steve McBean and Amber Webber. “Old Fangs” shows off BM’s psychedelic rep and let’s the tag-team vocal work of Amber and Stephen break free to volley between the well-timed guttural keyboards of Jeremy Schmidt. A somewhat dark and moody tune, “Old Fangs” grinds through the rock and roll stratosphere with an offering of contemplation: “Is it foolish to know what you’ve won before you’ve begun?”

By the time the album rolls into nostalgic acoustic pieces like  “Radiant Hearts” and “The Space of your mind”, you know this band is for real. The last track “Sadie” is another perfect example of BM’s ability to kick it down a few notches and fill your mind with Fantasia-like visions of cascading fairies. Does anyone remember that scene in Almost Famous when William Miller stumbles onto a couple singing soulfully to each other in a hotel room, only to be yanked away by Penny Lane?

“Rollercoaster” is a slow and soulful but powerful demonstration of BM’s ability to draw you in with a well crafted rock tune, followed by the almost near perfect specimen of the rock and roll animal “Let Spirits Ride.” This track dares you to spontaneously rock in public like a mental patient and make a complete spectacle of yourself. It also showcases Joshua Wells’ ability to drive the band to the edge of oblivion with killer fills, booming drums, and well executed rock and roll drop kicks.

However, if I had to pick one tune to dissect and try to analyze this band at a cellular level, it would have to be the title track “Wilderness Heart.” Opening with Joshua’s thunderclap fill, followed by Stephen’s piston grinding guitar riff, it also reveals the true heart and soul of this band. Amber not only punctuates the song with bursts from her symphonic alto voice penetrating the earth’s crust with the iron daggers of proprietary rights, but proves why she belongs in this band. The reality is, Black Mountain could probably function without Amber, but that would be a tragedy. One thing I’ve noticed and love about Black Mountain is the fact no one is the front “person.” I believe that could change, though. Resembling a concoction of Grace Slick, Joan Jett, and Stevie Nicks, Amber could easily step up front and center into the role as rock and roll goddess. A simmering volcano? We shall see.

Led Zeppelin Definitive Collection Mini LP Replica Box Set Available on November 4

Rhino Entertainment presents the Led Zeppelin limited-edition boxed set of mini-LP replica CDs set available on November 4!

Led Zeppelin Definitive Collection Listening Party

Listening Party Track list
Good Times Bad Times
No Quarter
Whole Lotta Love
Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Rock And Roll
All My Love
When the Levee Breaks

Atlantic Records/Rhino Entertainment will release a limited- edition CD boxed set containing Japanese imports of all 10 of the quartet’s albums in mini-LP replicas with artwork from the original U.K. LP sleeves. The LED ZEPPELIN DEFINITIVE COLLECTION OF MINI-LP REPLICAS boxed set will be available on November 4 for a suggested price of $199.98.

The mini-LP replicas CD boxed set includes Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), Physical Graffiti (1975), Presence (1976), The Song Remains the Same (1976), In Through the Out Door (1979), and Coda (1982). The sleeves included in the boxed set feature the original LP album artwork released in the U.K., including the original printing of the group’s debut, which used turquoise ink on the cover for the band’s name and the Atlantic Records logo. Additionally, the set includes all six covers released for In Through the Out Door, Led Zeppelin’s final studio album.