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Destroyer by Black Mountain - Album Review

The fifth album from Canadian rockers, Black Mountain, a band that I'd not come across before this year, arrives and continues the confounding of expectations that I found in opening track, "Future Shade". I've already eulogised about how much I like that track, here. My thoughts on the rest of the album continue below.

The list of influences is long, from classic rock & metal behemoths Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Iron Maiden to the indie rock of bands like Swell via Berlin-era David Bowie and Depeche Mode. I love the way they use keyboards and guitars to equally powerful effect. 
"Horns Arising" starts by continuing the hard rocking with vocoder vocals and strong keyboard work, before becoming a Mastodon-esque stomper then morphing into sinister but pastoral folk and back again. This is not an album for the faint-hearted, or those of simple tastes. This band takes you on an intense aural journey in the space of one song.

"Closer To The Edge" sounds like a 1970's science fiction film soundtrack and serves as a breath catching interlude after the craziness of "Horns Arising" before "High Rise" brings back the rock. Less metal and more garage rock but drifting into Hawkwind and Spiritualized territory as it progresses to full on wig out.
"Pretty Little Lazies" is another journey through the styles. Starting off as a distant cousin of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" before becoming something that wouldn't have seemed out of place on Blur's eponymous 1997 masterpiece. Naturally, it takes a detour to wig-out central halfway through, before finishing with a dark melodic coda.

"Boogie Lover" takes a more traditional blues-rock vibe but still has a 1960's psychedelic edge, and a heavier undertone. It is the only track that approaches a standardised sound, and suffers for this a little. Possibly a couple of minutes too long as well.
"Licensed To Drive" slowly builds up with some great tom-tom work into a metal feel similar to opener "Future Shade". This is obviously a good thing. 
Album closer "FD'72" heads off in the David Bowie/Depeche Mode and Joy Division direction. Lead singer Stephen McBean really channels the Berlin-era Bowie here, whilst the musical intro and outro would fit perfectly into many a thriller soundtrack.

At only 8 tracks it might seem on the short side, but only one of those is under 3 minutes and the album is a perfectly sized 43 minutes. Moreover 7 of those 8 tracks take the listener on an extravagant musical journey. One of the more intriguing albums I've heard in a while, only to be avoided by those who don't want their musical horizons expanded.

"Drown in the future shade, ain't no-one gonna save you tonight...."

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