Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Mount Fuji - ST (album review)
Amazing what a couple years difference will make. In the early Aughts I couldn't stomach the way premature 90s grunge revivalists were dumping all over the radio. Bands like Nickelback, Default, Linkin Park, Puddle of Mudd and Creed sprouted up and were big stars overnight. These were cookie cutter outfits whose singers generally sounded like they were singing through marbles. These bands may have been hitmakers but they didn't get the right alchemical mixture to become classics because they forgot to combine the grunge with heavy slabs of genuineness. Also, as an afterthought, there was no originality there, but who cares about that stuff anyway, right?
Fast forward ten years or so and there's a new early 90s grunge revival. This time it's a genuine one. Bands like Mother of God, Soundcrawler, Satellite Beaver and the subject of this review, Mount Fuji, sound genuinely influenced by those great bands of yesteryear, Alice in Chains, Screaming Trees and Soundgarden among the most audible and best sources of inspiration, the riffs, the attitude, the singing all come natural, it's part of their DNA. These guys grew up on those bands. Those bands were in the air when these guys were all very young, it's hard not to be influenced by that. These aren't bands that changed their style to try to jump on a dying trend. There's a reason Nickelback has become a dirty word.
But Mount Fuji is more than just a 90s re-hash band, there's something else they bring to the table besides genuineness: originality. "Six Feet Under the Rainbow of Hell" is the most different and interesting composition on an album full of interesting compositions, a spoken word intro leading into a song that is heavy, emotive, doomy and by the end of it, it seems you've been on a journey. As different as that song is structurally from the others on the album, it is representative of the whole. A kind of musical fractal.
And make no mistake, these guys sound thick and grungy but are undeniably a metal band, they rock hard. In "acht" and "Simple Depression Guide" they go to page one of the doom playbook and slow things down, giving the music a claustrophobic gravitas. Like a lot of great German artists, they're not afraid to experiment, I've said elsewhere that the German psyche is split between the glories of the past and the wonders of the future. That holds true here as well.
This album is heavy as shit, but they're not afraid to let loose with great emotive choruses and melodies such as in "Just Human" and the end of "Head on Fire". The singer isn't afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve either belting a phrase that I've felt for years and is near and dear to my heart: "I'm tired of this shit, fuck you all!" in "Colossus", and some similar sentiments in "Yearning".
Mount Fuji is one of the most honest and genuine albums I've heard all year and is a cathartic and ultimately satisfying experience.
Highlights include: "neun" and "Six Feet Under the Rainbow of Hell"
From: Liepzig, Germany
Genre: Doom, Grunge, Sludge, Stoner
Reminds me of: Alice in Chains, Hyne, Mother of God, Satellite Beaver, Soundgarden
Release Date: September 29, 2012
Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Spending the night in an abandoned insane asylum, then waking up to discover it was never abandoned.