Mount Salem – Endless (Metal Blade)
CD / LP / DL
Chicago’s Mount Salem create a superb mix of doom laden rock on their debut album, Endless. Dom Walsh stands in awe.
Endless comes roaring at you like a rabid dog. A cacophony of guitars, drums and organ helps set the stall out immediately on the aptly titled Good Times. When this awesome mix is complemented by the glorious vocals of singer Emily Kopplin, you can tell straight away that this album is going to be good.
The Tower sees the guitars continue to snarl in a mist of reverb, creating a suitably doomy atmosphere. Around the track’s mid point the guitar part allows the band to add another facet to their sound and leads to the song’s crushing end with the drums being battered and again the vocals are blisteringly good.
A bluesier introduction adorns Lucid before it settles into another mid tempo, chugging slab of doomy rock. As the track matures, the blues feel is more prevalent as the organ adds a cold and haunting atmosphere against an increasingly heavy back drop.
Full Moon sees Kopplin serenading your ears with a mournfully sung introduction. The guitars and drums slowly build towards the fastest paced track of the album so far. The whole track motors on and is a real neck wrecker of a track. Mescaline has a heavier harmonic feel to it, with the organ providing the mainstay of the mix. This serves as the introduction to the towering Mescaline II. The aforementioned vocals are sublime throughout and the range and delivery on Mescaline II is spine tingling. Along with a great solo to close, this is definitely one of the many highlights here.
Penultimate track, Hysteria, carries many of the same characteristics of the album and the slow, doomy chug of the guitars is one of the most Sabbath sounding moments here. Again, the organ gives a ghoulish slant to proceedings making the album an exciting and sinister listen. The End signals the album’s closure with more doom-laden worship, Mount Salem saving some of the most powerful riffs until the end to really close out the album in crushing style.
I can’t emphasise enough how wonderful the vocals are on this album. Ranging from devilish snarl to bluesy, soulful cries, it certainly helps set the album apart from your regular doom record. The guitar work is also varied throughout. Obvious influences such as Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus underpin the sound, but the skill with which the band execute their formula is excellent. This album is certainly going to be one of my highlights of the year.
All words by Dom Walsh, find his Louder Than War archive here.