I first got turned onto Black Mountain in 2006 when my drummer, Daniel of “Waiting for Daniel” fame said you got to check this out as we hung out back of the practice space, The HotEL Birmingham in his Volkswagen Jetta with the music cranked.

I was like the “what tha?” It was twin vocals kind of “Grace Slick and Marty Balin- Jefferson Airplane style” over music that veered from the mysterious realms of Jethro Tull to heavy Black Sabbath riffs. Although it was electric it was really organic sounding, like heavy Rock being neither Stoner Rock or Heavy Metal.

The first cover of black on black mountains, like flying over the Rockies in the winter at night was ominous like the sound. I started looking forward to the next release. In the Future was again very heavy and kept this brigade of late 60’s romantics cooking. The cover again with the cubist art was like retro-future with how 1960’s culture viewed itself. We had to look toward the future.

Black Mountain / photo/ Ryan Walter Wagner

This is Black Mountain‘s fourth outing and still no picture of the band on the cover. If you want to see the band, you’ll need to go to YouTube or go see them live. They seem even more focused and the artwork is no less compelling with a reflection of a great white shark in a mirrored office building coming out of the clouds, it’s like nature itself is pissed off.

Wilderness Heart kicks off with almost a Led Zep-Kashmir quality and keeps the retro stew going with “Old Fangs” coming out of the speakers like a Martin Birch engineered track off Deep Purple’s Fireball.

Amber Webber is a key element that keeps things from getting formulaic with her counter vocals, Stephen McBean and Amber still remind me of a modern day Marty Balin-Grace Slick team or if you want to get punk, Exene Cervenka-John Doe team. This type of work could not be auto tuned, there is some room for synthesizers but they will remind you of the synth work in Zeppelin or Sabbath.

The sound still stays organic and sounds as if they are still recording on big Ampex Analog 16 track machines. They are at the forefront of something that bridges the late 60’s haunting post hippie scene with lyrics that will stir the Syd Barrett in everybody. In fact, there is even a reference to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, but I’ll let you find that yourself like discovering the hidden meanings on The Beatles’ White Album .

This groups possible believers may not even be listening yet. Black Mountain bridges the gap between the kids that find the music of the late 60’s and early 70’s had something that music doesn’t have now and the fifty somethings that listened to the music in the first place. Wilderness Heart could sit comfortable between Jethro Tull’s Aqualung and Deep Purple’s Fireball in any relic’s record collection.

 The Psychedelic Vancouver, Canada band will roll into Nashville on November 11th at the The Mercy Lounge/Cannery Balllroom. You can get tickets at Grimeys, this is 9 on a 10 scale kick back in your room music.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

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