Black Mountain

    See, the trick when paying homage to influences of
    yesteryear — be it British Invasion, rockabilly or, in Black Mountain’s case, a
    hybrid of heavy metal (Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath) and prog rock (Emerson, Lake
    and Palmer) — is not just to try to sound like it but, in the most abstract
    sense, become the thunderous guitar chords, hammering drums, foreboding
    keyboard ambience, shrieking wails and mellow vocal shakes that seduce crowds
    and summon Beelzebub for another night of damnation. Labeled as indie rockers, Black
    probably doesn’t have
    satanic plots in mind, but as sophomore album In the Future kicks off with
    power driven “Stormy High,” you’re waiting for Ozzy to show up. When vocalists
    Stephen McBean and Amber Webber start harmonizing, you’ll think you were sucked
    into a dark basement in 1974, right before your then-teenage uncle had his “big

    From then on, it’s a wild ride; bluesy rocker “Angel” swings
    through with the right amount of sultry guitar and synth accompanying McBean’s
    low-down, almost Tom Petty swagger, “Tyrants” pounds and subverts with epic
    awesomeness, and “Stay Free” sounds the most modern without sounding out of

    If this finely crafted album falls anywhere, it’s with
    near-17-minute “Bright Lights,” an old-fashioned stab at extended prog, with
    long minutes of empty organ and punctuations of guitar. Broken down, it
    might’ve worked, but we’re handed almost a sitcom’s length worth of indulgence.
    In fact, it’s really their only obstacle — the tunes work well, and perhaps a
    tighter production next time will yield something even more cataclysmic.
    Criticisms aside, Black Mountain’s
    cavernous speaker presence holds onto influences while carving an individual
    niche. Like their idols, they know that anything but music is blasphemy. It is
    in their blood, and they were born to jam.

    Black Mountain
    will be performing at the Casbah, on Thursday, Feb. 7.

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