Black Mountain [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] [2 Discs]
While the divide between stoner metal and indie rock had been eroding for some time by 2005, this debut by Black Mountain evaporated any such distinctions entirely. By packing allusions to the Velvet Underground, David Bowie, and Roxy Music in the same bowl with Sabbath and Pentagram, BLACK MOUNTAIN simultaneously reinvigorated a tired catalog of riffs and ripped the lid off a vibrant Vancouver scene of heavy psych revisionism.
Singer-guitarist Stephen McBean's unabashedly classic-rock obsessed songwriting (sample lyric: "I can't get no satisfaction") is the album's prime mover, but the quintet's various weapons inhabit his hooks with an inspired intensity, among them organist Jeremy Schmidt's panoramic Hammond e.q. sweeps, Joshua Welle's mighty and loose drumming, and co-lead vocalist Amber Webber's haunting vibrato that recalls a metal Stevie Nicks. Between the squealing saxophone of "Modern Music" and the triumphant anti-authority refrain of "Faulty Times," McBean and Co. deliver a slam-dunk neo-classic that touches upon creativity, psychedelic exploration, and desperation in a time of modern media and war. They're thematically not unlike PARANOID, ultimately, but with enough mainstream appeal to land them the opening slot for a Coldplay tour in 2005.
Spin (p.105) - "[A]mbitiously sprawling....Stephen McBean's Eddie Vedder-esque moan coaxes out spazzoid sax solos and passionate harmony vocals from bandmate Amber Webber." - Grade: A
Uncut (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Bluesy stoner rock, windswept folk passages, distant Moog fuzz, Funhouse sax and a song called 'Druganaut' all add up to a meaty kind of psychedelia..."
Magnet (p.52) - Ranked #11 in Magnet's "The 20 Best Albums Of 2005" - "[F]ive kids from Vancouver debuted with the best stoner-rock record in 25 years..."
Magnet (p.101) - "[E]ight songs that mix and match psychedelic '60s sounds, creating an entertaining sonic stew..."
The Wire (p.41) - Included in The Wire's "2005 Rewind: 50 Records Of The Year."
The Wire (p.70) - "Black Mountain incorporate the techniques of such icons as The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground as well as later acolytes like Primal Scream and Royal Trux."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.61) - Ranked #16 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2005" - "[They] poured their love of Sabbath, the Stones, Can and Pink Floyd into a modern heavy psych masterpiece."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[With a] questing spirit and spacious grooves of classic album rock."