Album review: Black Mountain, "Wilderness Heart"

October 12, 2010

For rock fans who cut their teeth in a certain era of Black Sabbath/Deep Purple sturm und drang—and even more so for rock critics—fawning over the third album by Canadian stoner/psychedelic/heavy-metal mavens Black Mountain almost qualifies as a sad cliché. Of course we’re gonna love it; how could we not? It pushes all the right buttons! (As well as passing the virtual bong in the process, thank you very much.)

The group breaks no ground on “Wilderness Heart,” but that’s not what it’s about. These 10 tracks are a loving homage to a dazed and confused era of massive fuzz and feedback, thundering drums, a mood of ponderous, portentious doom and gloom bordering on the near-apocalyptic, and riffs, man, riffs. But the factor that elevates this quintet above the many others stomping on similar turf is the quality of those riffs, the urgency and immediacy of that noise, and the wonderful contrast that Amber Webber’s ethereal, seductive, and otherworldly vocals provide to auteur Stephen McBean’s much more fearsome growls.

So yeah, I’m a sucker for it. Can ya blame me?

Black Mountain, “Wilderness Heart” (Jagjaguwar) Rating: 3.5/4