Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart

January 01, 1970

 

(Jagjaguwar)

 

www.jagjaguwar.com

 

Monstrous riffs, molten sludge, the bludgeoning weight of
guitar overload-those have always been Stephen McBean’s stock in trade, and
never more so than on third Black
Mountain full-length Wilderness Heart. Yet where most of Black Mountain’s
1960s forebears were all-male affairs, this band has Amber Wells to shake up
the stereotype. Just listen to how her warm, vibrato-laced contralto casts a
witchy spell over the title track, making its head-thudding guitars, its
rampaging drums into something wilder, sweeter and altogether more
unpredictable. “Old Fangs,” too, has the palm-muted, ‘vette-on-blocks stomp of
classic Sabbath, yet synths and Wells’ singing brings its old-style menace into
the modern era.

 

As always, some of the most arresting moments are the quiet
ones: the loose, hazy harmonies of “Radiant Hearts,” the Neil Young-worthy shamble
of “Buried by the Blues.” Yet fundamentally, what’s interesting about Wilderness Heart is the way it melds
he-man classic rock with the rich country self-assured-ness of the band’s
distaff side. Maybe we can all get
along, after all.  

 

DOWNLOAD:  “Wilderness Heart,” “Buried By the Blues” JENNIFER
KELLY

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