Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Holy Mount - Alpic (album review)

Cover artwork by Maryanna Hardy.
From on high (up north) comes an album that is appropriately goat adorned and magnificently riff-festooned.  Never will you hear a band more locked into a groove, welcome to the ultimate hypnotic thrillride!

"Nineteen Ninety and a Half" sets the pattern for the rest of the album to follow.  This song features one of the most insistent grooves you're likely to hear all year, built from a synth melody that loops around hollowly like the 'killer's tooth' in a spray paint can, the riff somehow latches onto your brain like some kind of attractive parasite and hastily attaches itself to your central nervous system.

When vocals do finally make an appearance they are laid back and groovy, falling into lock step with the mood of the music perfectly.  Insistent grooves and a laid back vibe, brought home by the lazy vocal stylings of Danijel Losic seems to be the formula Holy Mount rely upon.  And a powerful brew it is.

Well, it may be just to claim that each song relies on a similar formula to convey an interminable mood, but it would be unjust to simply leave it at that.  Brandon McKenzie's (good Canadian name) Basslines act as greased lightning to the slow-moving bulk that is Losic's riffs, bringing them to life, animating songs, providing the spark of a lead instrument and penetrating the areas of the listener's brain that the laid back vocals simply cannot reach.  At other times Troy Legree's drums take up the lead, while at others the kit stays hypnotically in the background.

"My Sun" and "Behind Drip Hill" work in tandem to massage the brain into a psychedelic mindspace, slowly, subtly until the subtlety is broken on "Eiger" a groovy masterpiece that has the same flair for sending the listener to head nodding oblivion as some of Hawkwind's more energetic numbers.

Finally, 'Alpic' is bookended by a Mutt-and-Jeff combo of instrumentals, one mercilessly short synth-laden tone setter at the front ("Goldenhorn") and a (well, almost instrumental) lengthy riff-tacular.  Even at nearly 10 minutes in length "Daydream Light" isn't quite long enough.  It's an undeniably interesting composition as well, with the vocals being incredibly low and distant in the mix while a guitar lead picks up the slack during what would be the verse.  It's just another example of how Holy Mount can bypass your circuitry and blow your fuse without half trying.  As I say, this is trance inducing stuff.  Never have you so willingly submitted yourself to a groove.  Never has your mind and soul been so easily taken!  Beware, this album may cause mouth-breathing loss of self-awareness and thousand yard stares into unknown worlds.

This album review could be easily summed up in just two words: insistent grooves.  Within that simplistic framework however is an ultimately satisfying listening experience full of excellent riffs and unbreachable, unbreakable moods.

Highlights include: "Nineteen Ninety and a Half" and "Eiger"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 38:56

Troy Legree - Drums
Brandon McKenzie - Bass
Danijel Losic - Guitar, Synth, Vocals

From: Toronto, Ontario

Genre: Stoner, Psychedelic, Drone

Reminds me of: Hawkwind

Release Date: June 28, 2013

Better Reviews:
Ride With the Devil
Welcome to the Void (in Greek)

Holy Mount on facebook

***Special thanks to A.S. Van Dorston of Fast n Bulbous for introducing me to Holy Mount***

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