I have not been this excited about a new band since I explored the lyrics of Tim McIlrath or the dynamism of the unsigned, soon to be well-known band Blackmore, from LA. I cannot stop playing this album and my friends and family have noticed the obsession. While drugs and counseling have not yet been prescribed, I am sure they are a bit worried that I may have reverted to my teenage years and will waste a decade listening to the same songs over and over.
Mount Salem has released the eight-song CD Endless and if there is a better release this year I certainly have not heard it. Think Black Sabbath with the most wonderful, hypnotizing female voice. Think Evanescence, only stripped of the engineering and the polish. What you have is straight, honest, deep heavy metal. When you listen to this album you cannot help but wonder how this could be a first release. From the first song, “Good Times,” to the last, “The End,” this EP delivers awesome for forty-three straight minutes, not one moment of which I am not in awe.
What I love about this band is the ability to drag us through the sludge of slow paced, Sabbath-esque chords, and then wind us up into a speedy gallop followed yet again by pounding guitars and haunting female singing that fits with the music so well you wonder whether Tony, Geezer, and Bill had ever thought about Grace Slick as a lead singer. The arrangements are complex, interesting, and addicting.
Finding a favorite song on this album would be like Tiger Woods identifying his favorite girlfriend…there is just too much material to work with. I guess I have to start with “Full Moon,” which is an absolute romp through the best there is to offer of this genre. It is followed by “Mescaline I,” a deeply moving and beautiful instrumental piece that I wished lasted two hours and forty-four minutes rather than two minutes and forty-four seconds. Every time it ends I am sad, but then comes “Mescaline II,” and I am relieved.
The album ends with two amazing pieces: “Hysteria” and “The End.” I find myself listening to this section of the CD over and over again; I don’t do this because it is better than the first half, but because I cannot stop listening to “Mescaline I,” and so I start at Full Moon, and just cannot turn it off. I do not want to sell the first three songs short…they are amazing pieces of work, but sometimes I only have 20 minutes..and I need my Mescaline. (Hmmm…did I say that?)
Mount Salem has announced a West Coast tour in May and you would be insane to miss this show. If this band is even a fraction of their studio sound while live, they will be one of the highlights of 2014 and beyond. If you have even the smallest interest in Sabbath, The Sword, or Electric Wizard, you have to hear Mount Salem. But be forewarned….Endless has been known to cause addicting behavior; and so far there is no known cure.
Dan Adler was raised in Southern California to a mom and dad, one of whom appreciated Creedence and left wing anti-war politics. By the teenage years, Dan became obsessed with Black Sabbath, listening to the same seven albums repeatedly for 5 years. During this time, his favorite concert experience was seeing Metallica open for a bunch of bands that no longer exist and winning the 1st ever Santa Cruz Air Guitar contest. After several years in Africa listening and dancing to Chimurenga music, Dan returned to have the two best children in the world, one of whom spends a lot of time at concerts with him. What a lucky dad!