Mount Salem – “Endless” (2014)

Label: Metal Blade Records

Review by Alessandra Cognetta

If I had to describe Mount Salem, I’d go for something along the lines of “female fronted psychedelic doom metal”, but I’d still be far from properly describing the peculiar vibe of their music. The Chicago-based band released “Endless” as an EP back in 2013 and, after signing with Metal Blade Records, they published an extended version with brand-new songs in the spring of the following year. It’s easy to think of Black Sabbath upon first listening to “Endless”, but that would mean only scratching the surface. Mount Salem delivers a solid debut album which sounds vintage and new at the same time.

The opener “Good Times” begins in medias res, with an action-packed arrangement and the haunting but powerful vocals of Emily Kopplin, followed by the evocative “The Tower”, a song of wide musical landscapes and laid-back tempos. The third track is “Lucid”, one of the highlights of this album that showcases all the good elements of their sound. “Full Moon” is another surprise. It starts off with a really slow bass riff and a rather atmospheric tone for a good two minutes before picking up the pace towards an unexpected direction. The second half of the album is introduced by the instrumental piece “Mescaline”, another good example of the atmosphere Mount Salem is able to create, with guitars and organ joining together to bring an almost cinematic feeling to the composition. The theme introduced by the instrumental track is brought back and further explored in “Mescaline II” where Emily‘s voice really gets to shine, a powerful yet melancholic performance. “Hysteria”, the longest track on “Endless”, is another great example of how well Mount Salem manages to combine doom and psychedelic elements, by varying an otherwise repetitive song through different moods and a nice balance between all the instruments (vocals included). The last song, “The End”, is introduced by the organ, an appreciated addition to an already rich sound which should definitely be exploited more in the future. It closes the album with a quiet tone, compared to the other tracks but makes up for it with its, and forgive the wordplay, ending.

As I said, “Endless” is a good album, and surely Emily Kopplin’s performance on vocals and organ really strikes the listener in a positive way. This, however, could not be possible without solid songwriting and the skilled support of all the other instruments. Mount Salem reinterprets a classic genre filtered by a particular musical personality, paving the way for a bright future.

Rating – 81/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Good Times
  2. The Tower
  3. Lucid
  4. Full Moon
  5. Mescaline
  6. Mescaline II
  7. Hysteria
  8. The End

 

Line Up

  • Emily Kopplin – Vocals, Organ
  • Kyle Morrison – Guitars
  • Mark Hewett – Bass
  • Cody Davidson – Drums

 

Links

Facebook * BandCamp