Mount Salem - 'Endless' CD Review (Metal Blade) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Friday, September 05, 2014

Mount Salem - 'Endless' CD Review (Metal Blade)

Mount Salem - 'Endless' CD Review (Metal Blade)
Hailing from Chicago, IL, Mount Salem is a four piece psychedelic rock / doom metal band. They started writing music together in the summer of 2012 and released their first EP, Endless, in the spring of 2013. Metal Blade Records signed the band in the summer of 2013 and released an extended version of the band’s EP this past Spring which contained two additional tracks…The band puts a strong emphasis on tone and feeling in both their songs and live performances alike. Most of the band switched from their normal instruments and picked up new ones for this band and the result was much more natural than they had hoped for. Taking influence from the classics like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, they play loud, heavy rock and roll using all vintage gear. Throwing their own twist of dark and mysterious doom into the music, they invite the listener to step into their sinister realm..” — Metal Blade

Mount Salem play 70’s retro-doom (aka occult rock or witch rock) and, while the band’s music is the expected big sludgy stoner riffs and grooves, the songs often veer off into psychedelia. Vocalist Emily Kopplin sings in a haunted, waif-like manner and her vocals, along with the guitar riffs, are prominent in all of the songs. Kopplin also adds a church-like organ beneath the crushing riffs which serves as both additional atmosphere and a bridge between sections of the songs, rather than rising to the level of funeral doom.

The eight songs on Endless run just over 40 minutes and the disc picks up speed toward the back half of the disc. The first three songs are all stylistically similar, where bombastic, dirgy stoner riffs and thundering drums crash alongside of Emily Kopplin’s ghostly narratives and psychedelic organ. The songs start breaking from the mold with “Full Moon”, which has a slow burning atmospheric opening and this slow build kicks up into groove-based riffs with some time changes that will keep the listener engaged. “Mescaline” and “Mescaline II” are two of the strongest cuts on the disc. “Mescaline” is a shimmering and moody stoner/psychedelic instrumental which leads directly into the crunchy psychedelia of “Mescaline II”. This later number has a dense musical sound with a notable guitar line weaving beneath this sonic wall. The disc ends where it started as the guitar riffs on “Hysteria” sound like they came straight out of the Sabbath playbook and “The End” serves as a nice outro as it takes the pace down a notch with slower, brooding tempos and more prominant use of the organ.

Mount Salem