As I have mentioned prior, bands such as Black Mountain, Sleepy Sun and Howlin Rain scratch an itch that I picked up as a youth listening to bands in my friend’s basement. We’d leaf through his brother’s LPs and fire up anything that was loud that we thought made us cool. On their 3rd album, Wilderness Heart, Black Mountain continue to rev up the engine on their classic/stoner rock and folk mix, and I continue to think I am cool.
Rumbling riffs, synths that weave their way through the album and the dual vocals of Stephen McBean and Amber Webber make this album worthy of twisting the volume knob to the right. Back when Oz and I had our first man-date, I desribed them as mix of Deep Purple and Fleetwood Mac. With Webber stepping to the forefront on Wilderness Heart that description is as apt as ever. I for one, really enjoy her taking on a more prominent role.
Much like a burger at Kuma’s, the meat of the album is in the middle. Rollercoaster and Let Spirits Ride deliver a nice one-two punch in the middle of the album. While Rollercoaster meanders around delivering heavy riffs, Let Spirits Ride puts the foot on the gas from the onset. Webber sounds particularly demonic here. Maybe she’s been spending some time with Christine O’Donnell’s old boyfriend.
A band lacking the talent of Black Mountain would make this come off as a parody of 70′s rock (comes close on a couple of tunes – yes I’m looking at you Radiant Hearts) but with Stephen McBean at the helm, there is little worry of that. Black Mountain continue to churn out phenomenal albums and their live performances are every bit the equal, if not better.