With album number three, Vancouver's Black Mountain may be threatening to hit the mainstream ...and with an output history this solid and thrilling, they deserve nothing less.
While 2008's In The Future was a decade highlight for me, Wilderness Heart proves to be something of a departure from it's predecessor - eschewing that early 70's monolithic rock sound for something a little more modern. Circa 1978. Synths and keyboards litter the sound with hidden flourishes, while Amber Webber gets more time in the lime light on these concise, deceptively simple tracks.
Opener The Hair Song exudes a swaggering confidence, while Old Fangs is built around a riff worthy of AC/DC themselves. Empires are smashed, tempos are shifted and War of the Worlds-style synths rule in one of many mini epics on the album - where no tracks head far north of 5 minutes.
Rollercoaster dips before Webber's vocals soar. Let Spirits Ride takes the band on a freight train of their most thundering thrash to date, complete with electrifying guitar and keyboard solos. A calmness decends with the orchestral overtones of Buried by the Blues - but throughout the album Josh Wells' drumming is again a magnificent highlight, running in and out of the layered and intricate guitars and keyboards and providing a muscular and spine tingling backbone.
Title track Wilderness Heart is the highlight, cramming a ten minute epic into just under four minutes as all the elements magically come together perfectly: thunderous intro, duelling vocals, pneumatic waves of drumming and a soaring coda all weaving in and out of each other into a towering, all-conquering masterpiece. Thrilling.