Monday, 25 March 2013

Mount Salem - Endless (album review)

Cover artwork by Mat Moreno
While I was dickin' around all last summer, these four hellions from Chicago decided to form a band.  Well under a year later, they have released their debut EP, 'Endless' and I'm still just sittin; here dickin' around.  Soulful vocals courtesy of Emily Kopplin that are both powerful and feminine ride atop a broomstick of Sabbath inspired madcap riffs, dripping with evil funk.  Tasteful use of organ breathes wheezy life into the affair.  The foundation however is based on the deep low end, the black hole, if you will, out from which springs the band's sonic armada.

Sometimes you're unsure about a band at first.  You have your doubts about this that or t'other, but one thing that makes all that stuff go away in a real hurry is a riff like the one featured in "Lucid".  A riff like this doesn't pussyfoot around.  It's not a teaser, it's not a builder, it is a monolith.  All bullshit goes out the window with a riff like that one, far as I'm concerned a riff like that is what this blog is all about.  If I had any balls whatsoever I'd rename this place "The Riff From Lucid by Mount Salem" just so the message isn't lost, but I don't so I won't.  You get the idea.  Great stuff.

"Full Moon" takes things in a slightly bluesier direction, a bass-driven track full of graveyard mist illuminated by the full moon of Kopplin's vocals, a perfect example of how the bass holds this work together like the cosmic superstructure that holds the stars in place.  "Mescaline" is a short cowboy sounding interlude which is full of cool feelings.

"Hysteria" features another of those amazing riffs that makes me excited about the future of this band.  An unapologetically doomy sound all around with the slow and menacing riff backed by organ accompaniment and gravedigging drop outs and interludes.  Remember, this band is less than a year old.  Already they show a tremendous penchant for penning killer riffs.

Photo credit: Josh Kurpius
"The End" brings it all together, continuing the basic feeling of "Hysteria" with the riff from "Mescaline", giving the whole second half of the disc the look and feel of a mini-opera.  Cudos are well and truly due to the band for 'Endless' being a well-planned, well-executed debut.  They prove themselves capable of sloughing off amazing riffs and graveyard atmospherics, they have a great vocalist and the bassist proves worthy of the spotlight at times as well.

The band compares favorably to Blood Ceremony and Shocking Blue, so if you're into those bands, as I am, then don't be afraid to come into this EP with high expectations because they will be met.

Highlights include: "Lucid" and "Hysteria"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 33:37

Emily Kopplin - Vocals/Organ
Kyle Morrison - Lead Guitar
Mark Hewett - Bass Guitar
Cody Davidson - Drums

From: Chicago, Illinois

Genre: Doom, Rock, Stoner

Reminds me of: Alunah, Black Moth, Black Sabbath, Blood Ceremony, Electric Citizen, Shocking Blue

Release Date: February 18, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: "Whatchoo doin' in that graveyard boy?  Donchoo know it's after hours?  I can barely see you, fog's so thick.  Come here, let me get a closer look atchoo.  I -- dear Lawd whatchoo -- No!! -- AAaaaaargh!!!"

Better Review:
Dr. Doom's Lair
The Soda Shop

Mount Salem facebook
Mount Salem on Encyclopedia Metallum

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