MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 2008 |
Black Mountain’s sophomore effort, In the Future (Jagjaguwar), might feel a bit like rooting hand and heart for the wicked ways of the bad guy. In this, the band’s bi-polar prophecy, five prog stroking Canucks rub unhinged surges of sprawling riff rock up next to minimal bouts of apocalyptic country folk. But a closer look into this epic ode to dark arts, dark deeds, and very dark times indeed, reveals a band no so enamored with shedding blood themselves, but stoically snuffing out those who desire to do so. Root away…
There are plenty of harsh realities flying around the subjects that populate much of In the Future. In opener “Stormy High”, nature behaves erratically, and so too does Black Mountain. Stephen McBean’s dose of blues infused guitars, violently swinging around in 7/4 time…Joshua Wells’ steel plated drum work, flying down the rails like a monstrous freight train…Black Mountain hold nothing back at the get go. Matching tumultuous sonic tones with equally lethal lyrics, a “nobleman” expires for no particular reason at all…though the roll out of less than savory characters that follows suggest nature probably had it right in this case.
Others also meet the same kind of fate as the luck-less lord from track number one. “Tyrants”, a brawny, 8-minute masterpiece that rifles through a full range of deep rock’s time honored traditions, fires off unsympathetic lines like, “soldiers emptied their rounds into your side/Tyrant, you know your time has come” to a cinematic score that could easily accompany the final scene of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West. On the magnificently moody thriller “Queens Will Play”, Amber Webber reaps her chilling vocal contributions in a bath of the Queen’s blood. And “Bright Lights” meanders on for nearly 17 minutes…the obvious vengeful tones left open to the imagination by McBean and Webber’s clever wordplay.
In the end, Black Mountain search out and destroy those who let chaos and disorder rein In the Future. Where such story lines ultimately lead? The future can never be certain. But like the ordered patterns that lurk under the surface of the front cover, Black Mountain tame the anything goes with a high flying craft that is both precise and articulate…a heroic effort indeed. – David Pitz