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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coherent and captivating., Jan. 22 2008
By 
flag (Ottawa , Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In the Future (Audio CD)
Black Mountain - the most public face of the Vancouver-based "Army" of the same name, a collective of likeminded musicians with amps set to nerve-stun levels and guitars possessed by wailing blues ghouls - have been busy since the release of their self-titled debut in 2005.
Following the sleeper success of their debut "Black Mountain" - which saw them invited to support Coldplay on a North American arena tour - the band apparently cloistered themselves in the studio to record for 14 days straight, barely pausing to eat or see daylight.
The second album from the Canadian prog band continues to take the basic musical building blocks of duelling guitars and pounding drums to construct a rock monster.
This is a CD alive with tales of witches, demons, sun cults, and one 17-minute song, "Bright Lights", whose sole lyrics warn us of impending war, destruction and darkness.
Stephen McBean and his buddies don't hold back, with "Tyrants" - a 1970s metal moan against anonymous bad men - stretching over eight minutes in a face-shredding three-part epic, while "Bright Lights" - with its ambitious but unwieldy mixture of electroacoustic free noise and clumping rock grooves - clocks in at twice that.
Amber Weber's vocals add depth to the riffmungus workouts, ranging from Thin Lizzy-style repetition to more contemplative passages in "Wucan".
Through ragingly volatile highs and purposely sluggish lows - more ups than downs, literally and critically - Black Mountain surely show off their greatest recording achievement to date here.
It's captivating, cosmic stuff. The band (who all still hold down day jobs as mental healthcare and drug rehabilitation workers) switch between swamp and space with admirable grace, held together by singer Amber Webber's remarkably full-lunged vocals and Stephen McBean's bleak vision of the world.
Standouts : "Stormy High" and "Stay Free".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scaling into the future, Feb. 1 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: In the Future (Audio CD)
Black Mountain exists in a swirl of heavy, grimy, vaguely psychedelic hard-rock, redolent of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin (with maybe a touch of the Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd).

And the band is in fine shape in their sophomore album "In The Future" -- they introduce some new musical twists, while still keeping their signature sound. It's a powerful, intense collection of hard-rockers, but with a few softer songs sprinkled in to show their range.

It opens with a grimy riff, a dark stomping bassline, and some smashing drums -- and for a minute, the appropriately-named "Stormy High" whips itself into a barely-restrained frenzy. When Stephen McBean's wailing vocals join the mix, the song straightens out into a solid, intense rocker that blasts its way down, reeking of classic rock concerts and apocalyptic fury.

Having reeled you in, Black Mountain turns out the bluesy "Angels," with McBean lamenting, "Come on, lay your head on down/angels, lay your arms around/every city's singing saddened songs...." And that quieter song is echoed in some of the others -- mournful folkiness, haunting fuzzy songs, or the ethereal closing lament "Night Walks."

But they haven't abandoned the harder music, thankfully. This is where their real power erupts out -- simmering hard-rock, gritty psychedelica wound with synth, stormy twisting electro-metal, and the penultimate song -- a seventeen-minute epic journey through explosive hard-rock, solemn organ instrumentals, and an earsplitting finale.

Whoo. What a ride. It's been only three years since Black Mountain came out with their self-titled album and EP -- it was great music, but still raw and unformed. They've obviously done a lot of work in that time, because "In the Future" is a whole different beast -- they're more polished, focused and eclectic in their sounds.

Like any good hard-rock album, it's got loads of twisting, undulating riffs and heavy basslines, fused into strong, muscular melodies -- also mix in smashing drums, tambourine, some somnolent organ, and acoustic guitar. And the band can switch styles in an instant -- for instance, "Tyrants" effortlessly flips between wistful Renaissancey ballads, and epic, powerful sweeps of hard-rock.

Also take note: there's a lot more synth in this album than in their previous one. It's all very early 1970s -- colourful psychedelic ribbons wound through "Wucan," plenty of harmonium, and strangled keyboard notes.

McBean's voice hasn't changed, though -- he's still high and waily, and in the louder songs he sounds like he's leading an army ("The heart it waaaas/howling in the heavens... we will come together!"). He shares vocal time with Amber Webber, whose smooth wistful voice sounds at home whether she's dueting with him, or singing the softer songs by herself.

"In the Future" is the natural evolution of Black Mountain -- a powerful, polished, intense retro-rock collection. This is one mountain that's worth scaling all the way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Scaling into the future, Jan. 24 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: In the Future (Audio CD)
Black Mountain exists in a swirl of heavy, grimy, vaguely psychedelic hard-rock, redolent of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin (with maybe a touch of the Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd).

And the band is in fine shape in their sophomore album "In The Future" -- they introduce some new musical twists, while still keeping their signature sound. It's a powerful, intense collection of hard-rockers, but with a few softer songs sprinkled in to show their range.

It opens with a grimy riff, a dark stomping bassline, and some smashing drums -- and for a minute, the appropriately-named "Stormy High" whips itself into a barely-restrained frenzy. When Stephen McBean's wailing vocals join the mix, the song straightens out into a solid, intense rocker that blasts its way down, reeking of classic rock concerts and apocalyptic fury.

Having reeled you in, Black Mountain turns out the bluesy "Angels," with McBean lamenting, "Come on, lay your head on down/angels, lay your arms around/every city's singing saddened songs...." And that quieter song is echoed in some of the others -- mournful folkiness, haunting fuzzy songs, or the ethereal closing lament "Night Walks."

But they haven't abandoned the harder music, thankfully. This is where their real power erupts out -- simmering hard-rock, gritty psychedelica wound with synth, stormy twisting electro-metal, and the penultimate song -- a seventeen-minute epic journey through explosive hard-rock, solemn organ instrumentals, and an earsplitting finale.

Whoo. What a ride. It's been only three years since Black Mountain came out with their self-titled album and EP -- it was great music, but still raw and unformed. They've obviously done a lot of work in that time, because "In the Future" is a whole different beast -- they're more polished, focused and eclectic in their sounds.

Like any good hard-rock album, it's got loads of twisting, undulating riffs and heavy basslines, fused into strong, muscular melodies -- also mix in smashing drums, tambourine, some somnolent organ, and acoustic guitar. And the band can switch styles in an instant -- for instance, "Tyrants" effortlessly flips between wistful Renaissancey ballads, and epic, powerful sweeps of hard-rock.

Also take note: there's a lot more synth in this album than in their previous one. It's all very early 1970s -- colourful psychedelic ribbons wound through "Wucan," plenty of harmonium, and strangled keyboard notes.

McBean's voice hasn't changed, though -- he's still high and waily, and in the louder songs he sounds like he's leading an army ("The heart it waaaas/howling in the heavens... we will come together!"). He shares vocal time with Amber Webber, whose smooth wistful voice sounds at home whether she's dueting with him, or singing the softer songs by herself.

"In the Future" is the natural evolution of Black Mountain -- a powerful, polished, intense retro-rock collection. This is one mountain that's worth scaling all the way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No explaination necessary, April 16 2011
This review is from: In The Future (Vinyl) (LP Record)
If your a Black Mountain fan and you don't own a record player; buy this album on vinyl right now; then go buy a record player and wait. Wait until the album shows up and you will have no regrets.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One foot in the past and one in the future, July 20 2009
By 
Rones Bones (Ottawa, Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In the Future (Audio CD)
I had the recent fortune of happening upon Black Mountain at a local music festival on one of the smaller stages. My friend and I wandered the grounds hoping to find a band worthy of parking ourselves for the remainder of the evening. After quickly leaving a really boring Lynyrd Skynyrd on the main stage, we stumbled upon Black Mountain. We were instantly captivated.

I'm very selective when it comes to psychedelic music. It is often very naive and frankly, plain silly. I'm also generally against really long songs. They tend to be self-indulgent and boring. Not Black Mountain. This is highly creative psychedelic rock that remains captivating whether rocking out or mellowing out. It is rooted in the past but all the while looking to the future. It's well beyond the label of revivalist. The interplay between McBean's vocals and Webber's vocals and the addition of organ and 70's style keyboard sounds really help to create a hazy atmosphere amidst a throbbing rhythm section and often hard-edged but ear-tingling guitar.

At one point a band member thanked the crowd for seeing them instead of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I say thanks for giving me a far superior option and treating me to one of the better live shows I've seen in a long time. Indeed, now I have a new band to add to my music collection.
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In the Future by Black Mountain (Audio CD - 2008)
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