Posts Tagged ‘Mount Salem’

Now my previous lists have been specific to genre, but this is my ultimate top 20 of the year. It’ll include some records that you won’t have seen in previous ones as, for example, I only really heard two good power metal records this year, so I can’t really make a list from it. Also, where do you categorise certain bands, like Triptykon, who cover a wide spread of genres? Anyhow, my top favourites of the year are as follows:

20. Killer Be Killed – S/T – A supergroup that combines equal parts of their bands to create awesome

19. Grand Magus – Triumph and Power – Riffs of stone and hooks of great magnitude, the title track alone is one of my favourite songs of the year.

18. Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity – Another record of spellbinding black metal from England’s finest. Windswept and vast

17. Edguy – Space Police – Catchy as hell and stupidly anthemic, Tobias and the squad bring some RAWK to their power metal greatness

16. Electric Wizard – Time to Die – A suffocating, occult riddled drag down doom alley. Evil and heavy as fuck

15. Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun – A big improvement over The Hunter and Mastodon’s prog doom trip extends further

14. Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare – A follow up to ‘Ordo Ad Chao’ was always going to be difficult, but the True Mayhem brought out another stormer

13. At the Gates – At War With Reality – Thank fuck we finally have the follow up to ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. They put all copycats to shame.

12. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod – NOLA sludge titans send Joey LaCaze off with one of their most superlative records yet. Angry, harsh and utterly devastating

11. Decapitated – Blood Mantra – Poland’s finest sons of death continue their streak of blinding records with yet another punishing exercise in tech death

10. Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum – Nasty, abrasive and skullfuckingly epic in parts, Anaal do things their way, and better than most

9. Inter Arma – The Cavern – A Spellbinding 45 minute trip through the mind of one of post metal and doom’s brightest sparks. Wonderful

8. Hour of Penance – Regicide – Always brutal and relentless, I’ve grown fonder and fonder of this record the longer the year has gone on. Death to all!

7. Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall – Nasty, lurching death metal chaos, belching death and pestilence to all

6. Whalerider – Thanatos – A surprise late entry, and its been on constant rotation. A stormingly good rock record with doses of psych doom weirdness too

5. Panopticon – Road to the North – Soaring and scorching black metal, vast and hypnotic. Epic black metal is the theme this year, and its great

4. Sabaton – Heroes – I fucking love this band. No one writes more anthemic metal tunes than this. Fantastic record and catchy as hell

3. Mount Salem – Endless – A starkly beautiful trad doom record with perfect vocals and atmosphere. The fact it is third on my list is testament to its quality

2. Behemoth – The Satanist – The rebirth of a legend and a triumphant return. Any other year this would’ve been the best by a country mile

1. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata – Nothing could beat the pure misanthropy, despair and heaviness wrought from Tom G Warrior. A simply monumental release

Advertisements

I’m fitting in a bit less here than my previous black metal list, simply because there hasn’t been as many great doom records (that I’ve heard this year at least) in 2014 as I’d hoped. I write a bit for Sleeping Shaman and my choices for reviews have been a bit uninspiring in the past few months. No fault of Lee who runs it, but it just seems that the whole doom/stoner scene is spinning its wheels in the sand and not going anywhere. However, there have been some seriously good records in the genre so I managed a list:

10: Grand Magus – Triumph and Power: These guys never fail to write a brilliant doom record, every time. They have riffs hewn from stone and anthems of steel and blood. Wonderful

9. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun: A stunning comeback from the somewhat lackluster ‘The Hunter’, Mastodon have written yet another prog-doom-rock masterpiece. As anthemic and complex as anything they’ve written before

8. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod: I shouldn’t have to explain this, so I won’t. Sludge gods do it again

7. Electric Wizard – Time to Die: Less immediate than ‘Black Masses’ but every bit as malevolent and grindingly heavy. Brilliant

6. Inter Arma – The Cavern: I called this the new Mastodon when I reviewed it earlier in the year and I stand by it. Twisting, heavy and beautiful

5. Kuolemanlaakso – Tulijoutsen: Finnish death/doom majesty from the voice of Swallow the Sun. Stunningly heavy

4. Pallbearer – Foundation of Burden: Achingly heavy and poignant, a true heir to Cathedral’s throne

3. Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica: A draining, Cult of Luna meets Discharge monster of sludge, doom and crust punk violence. Monstrous

2. Boris – Noise: Not technically doom on this release, but my favourite shape shifting Japanese band have pulled out another classic album

1. Mount Salem – Endless: I called this months ago, and I’m still right: ‘Endless’ is still my favourite doom record of the year. It mixes classic Pentagram riffs with the powerful, mournful voice of Emily Koplin to staggering effect. I’ve listened to this I don’t know how many times this year, and I’m still not sick of it!

Special mention go to Pilgrim’s ‘II: Void Worship’, Ides of Gemini ‘Old World/New Wave’ and Godhunter’s ‘City of Dust’. You guys were close but not quite. I recommend you check out everything here, as they are all awesome!

I plan to spend most of December catching up on as many records from 2014 that I’ve missed so that my end of year lists can be a bit more researched and accurate than they would be if I wrote them now. However, I know for a fact that this is a list I can put together now. There’s a definite number of records I keep coming back to from 2014, and many will feature again in lists in a month’s time. But for now, here are my most played records of 2014:

1. Mount Salem – Endless: A hauntingly brilliant doom record, and probably my favourite discovery of 2014. A full blown contender for my favourite record of this year, Mount Salem are something very special.

2. Killer Be Killed – S/T: A supergroup that matches the term in every way. ‘Wings of Feather and Wax’ is up there with my favourite songs of the year too

3. Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun: A storming comeback from the masters of prog doom

4. Behemoth – The Satanist: I see these guys in 10 days time for the first time, and the newest record has been one of 2014’s most astounding achievements

5. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata: Another harrowing trip into the darkness of Tom G Warrior. Bleak and beautiful

6. Edguy – Space Police: My girlfriend’s favourite record this year I believe, and ‘Love Tyger’ is the stupidest brilliant song of the year. It’s so FUCKING catchy. I love this record

7. Sabaton – Heroes: I see these guys in only 6 days’ time and I think their newest record has their strongest collection of anthems since The Art of War. ‘We saw crosses grow on Anzio!’

I’ve read a few of these lists already in the last month or so, and even though I am now perpetuating the idea (how long before we do ‘best of so far’ lists every month?), I think it is still viable as a point of interest. 2014 has been a pretty damn fine year for extreme music already, and we’ve just reached August. Now, advance warning here, I am NOT including any of this year’s record which I haven’t heard yet. So, as good as the new Wolves in the Throne Room record is supposed to be, as I haven’t heard it yet I will not pass judgement. It’s inappropriate, and unfair. No doubt it will appear in my ‘year-end’ list if its as good as I’ve read. Any way, top 10.

10: Origin – Omnipresent: I only heard this for the first time last night, and I’ve already ripped it twice since. Origin do tech death with astonishing violence and masterful dynamics. It’s a vicious, sleek death metal record that will flay skin from bone.

9: Obituary – Inked in Blood: Now, I am lucky enough to be reviewing this for my good friends at Sleeping Shaman, and so I’ll keep the details to myself but nonetheless it is top 10 material, no doubt.

8: Killer Be Killed – S/T: This is a definite highlight for me, a supergroup that matches it’s potential astoundingly. First track ‘Wings of Feather and Wax’ starts almost every playlist of mine at the moment

7: Arch Enemy – War Eternal: Arch Enemy release a new album after losing their most iconic weapon in Angela Gossow. Thankfully, Alyssa Gluz-Whyte is more than up to the task and this is a new melodic death metal classic

6: Vader – Tibi Et Iti: Polish death metal legends create yet another ripping, tearing death metal album full of death and metal. Well, it’s never gonna be anything else is it? Brutal

5: Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun: Mastodon may never equal ‘Crack the Skye’ but ‘Once More Round the Sun’ is the progressive coupling of grace, crushing riffs and catchy ass songs. Love it

4: Mount Salem – Endless: A surprising album for me, a debut of a female fronted doom band that has captured my imagination. Vocals are lush, riffs are huge and the whole air of the occult makes the complete package.

3: Triptykon – Melana Chasmata: Tom G. Warrior’s mesmerising journey into the darkness is awe inspiring at every turn. No one should have been able to better ‘Eparistera Daimones’, but he did

2: Boris – Noise: A band that can rarely do wrong, and rarely fits any kind of genre or structure. Boris ARE my favourite band, and ‘Noise’ is an elegant record that takes all their myriad sounds and condenses them into one beautiful whole.

1: Behemoth – The Satanist: What more can be said? For Nergal to return from leukemia to music is miracle enough. To create one of metal’s most defining records in the 21st century is even more staggering. Dripping with evil, twisting black metal in new and malevolent ways and leading the armies of darkness into the light, ‘The Satanist’ will take some beating this year.

 

But we still have new Electric Wizard to come…

This was originately posted here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/interviews/g-q/mount-salem-sandy-williamson-interviews-vocalist-organist-emily-kopplin/

Mount Salem are not just another occult doom band with a female vocalist to add to the growing pile. Their debut record ‘Endless’ is a stunning collaboration between doom and psychedelic rock, and displays a remarkable maturity for a band so new. I got the chance to interview vocalist and organist Emily Kopplin about just how the band came to be the new guiding light in doom. On a personal note, this was a huge honour for me as I’ve found their debut record to be an early contender for my favourite record this year. It’s soulful, epic and beautifully presented.

Hey Emily, thanks for giving us time to interview you. First off, what are the band up to today?

I wish I could say we were up to something exciting, but the four of us will be working our respective jobs today. It’s Friday though so I can’t complain!

Mount Salem were formed in 2012, which dark cosmic forces brought the band together?

We have been friends for a few years, the guys build and ride vintage motorcycles and have a shop together. We’ve all been in bands over the years but never together. They were talking about getting together to jam and were interested in trying different instruments from what they used to play. Kyle (guitar) used to play drums, Cody (drums) used to play guitar, and Mark (bass) also used to play drums. Kyle was originally going to do vocals, but I was sitting in on a practice one day trying to help him write vocal melodies and they just let me do it instead.

Your new EP ‘Endless’ was originally self-released, and is being re-released by Metal Blade, how did that come about?

We originally released ‘Endless’ over a year ago with six songs. It was recorded shortly after we started playing together, before we had even played a live show, and those were the first batch of songs we had written. When Metal Blade approached us and expressed interest in rereleasing it as a full length we were stoked because that was a chance for us to go back in the studio and record two additional tracks. It was nice to have a few new songs to choose from this time around so we added ‘The Tower’. There’s an instrumental track on the album called ‘Mescaline’ that we’d always wanted to expand on and create a full song so we wrote ‘Mescaline II’. It was nice to breathe some new life into the EP and we’re happy that it’s getting more exposure than we could have done with it on our own.

As a metal band, is signing to such a legendary label a dream come true? Does it present you with additional pressure about your forthcoming music?

It’s definitely a huge honour to be welcomed onto the Metal Blade roster alongside some legendary artists. Working with them has been a great experience so far and we’re grateful for all the doors that have opened because of it. I think any pressure we’d feel about recording the next album will be more about pleasing the fans of this current album rather than trying to stack up with our peers.

I reviewed ‘Endless’ for The Sleeping Shaman, and I must tell you, it’s got to have been one of my favourite records of the past few months, who or what were your main inspirations while writing it?

That rules, thanks so much. We’ve all got different tastes in music and I think everyone’s individual influences shine through a little. Mark is typically the one more into the heavy side of things, Kyle and Cody like the bluesy psychedelic aspect, and I like the melodic and dynamic aspects of song writing. We’re all obviously influenced by 70s rock & roll though.

Do you feel that it’ll be difficult to stand out amongst the vast legions of Jex Thoth and The Devil’s Blood clones that have appeared over the past few years? I’m of the opinion that your material is strong and that your probably one of the best vocalists of that style, but what do you think?

Although there are a lot of bands popping up that are playing music in the same vein as us, we don’t really focus on setting ourselves apart. We just focus on writing music that we enjoy jamming and hope other people enjoy listening to. I think part of the reason people like what we do is because you can tell we’re not trying too hard, we write simple songs that get the point across.

What impressed me a lot about ‘Endless’ was it’s ‘less is more’ approach. You guys seem to take a more straightforward approach, and it works so well. The addition of the organ gives you that extra little bit of churchyard occultist feeling, but you use it subtly and sparingly. Was this a conscious decision or did it appear naturally?

Like I said earlier, most of those songs on the album are a display of our first efforts at songwriting together so I think that’s where that raw, basic feel comes from. I didn’t want the use of the organ to be the main focus and come through abrasively in the recordings. I like to use it as more of a complimentary accent to the songs rather than the meat and potatoes.

What are your future plans for Mount Salem? Will we be seeing a debut LP sometime soon, and possibly some more extensive touring now that you have Metal Blade behind you? I’m kind of hoping you make it to the UK sometime in the near future because I’d like to be front and centre!

We’ll definitely be recording a follow up after this Summer. We’ve been writing some killer new stuff so I can’t wait to have it recorded. We’ll be touring the US in May then hitting Europe in the Fall so keep an eye out for dates! It will be my first time overseas so that’s something I’m really looking forward to.

Thanks for the interview, have you got any final words for those who are maybe just finding out about the band?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and possibly taking even more time to listen to our music, we hope to see you out on the road!

HAIL SALEM

This review was originally published here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/m/mount-salem-endless-cd-dd-2014/

Mount Salem have what we like to call in the reviewing business ‘swagger’. That’s not the same as ‘swag’, that’s for douchebags. Swagger is a weapon in the arsenal of any good doom band; it brings the spiritual home of heavy metal, the blues, to the forefront while laying on groove and riffs a plenty. ‘Endless’ is a reissue of the band’s debut EP with a few bonus tracks, and Metal Blade have picked themselves a serious contender in the future of doom.

Endless’ has an uncanny swagger about it, from the rumbling blues of the opening ‘Good Times’ which is layered with a wonderful sense of groove. The ethereal, powerful vocals from organist Emily Kopplin compliment the song perfectly, and there’s something almost country about its mood. This is music to drift across the plains of the Mid West to. ‘The Tower’ is a brooding monolith, rising from a hazy psychedelic cloud to graze the sky above. Mount Salem sounds like ‘The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull’ era Earth and Jex Thoth had a baby.

What really makes the band stand out is the use of the organ. Many doom bands use keyboards or similar effects in their music but it can come off as forced or unnecessary. Mount Salem uses the organ subtly, weaving melodies in amongst the riffs. Sometimes you don’t need it at all, such as in the groovy intro of ‘Lucid’, and this restraint means that it has a much greater effect. When it kicks in behind a grinding riff later in the song, it works so much better.

Endless’ is an exercise in ‘less is more’. Mount Salem are a power quartet that do nothing fancy, yet tick all the right boxes when it comes to song writing and execution. For me, Kopplin is the highlight of the record; her rich voice has a timeless quality that compliments the music well. She is an impassioned preacher of doom, be it the softer style of ‘Full Moon’ or the powerful chorus of ‘Lucid’.

Full Moon’ is probably the best track on the record. It showcases Kopplin’s vocal range well, along with the different capabilities of the band. From the brooding intro to the thunderous gallop, Mount Salem can do it all, and better than most. Their mystical, occult lyrics are par for the course, but it’s executed so well that you can forgive them for doing nothing new here. ‘Mescaline’ is exactly the country style I was alluding to earlier, and in just shy of three minutes demonstrates a mournful, Western twang that permeates through the rest of the record. Its sister piece, ‘Mescaline II’ is crushing, with Kopplin’s vocals soaring over titanic riffs and psychedelic soloing.

Endless’ is a great record, a record that doesn’t rewrite any rules of the genre, but provides textbook examples of how to do it right. Cracking songs, memorable riffs and a hauntingly beautiful vocalist provide Mount Salem with all they need to succeed. Just listen to ‘Hysteria’ and tell me I’m wrong.