Vancouver's Black Mountain is tougher to read than a French menu: Acid-rock experimentalists? Slowcore Americana? Proto-metal jam band?
At any given moment, hints of Neil Young, Zeppelin, Throbbing Gristle, VU, Floyd, and the Stones may shine through the group's hazy roar of distortion. Songs meander, woozy and unsteady, while venting atmosphere and conjuring the vibe of musicians taking drugs to make music to take drugs to.
That said, Black Mountain's guttural throb isn't nearly as visceral, noisy, and ephemeral as Spacemen 3. For all its rumble, BM grounds its sound in roots, which hold down the territory between soaring space-rock drone and thundering cacophony, preventing jams from drifting into the ether. On tracks like "No Hits," from the band's 2005 debut, Black Mountain hides a sturdy blues beat inside a chaotic squall. Then there's "Set Us Free," which channels the languid twang of Crazy Horse.
In the end, however, BM's winding forays collapse all distinctions of category.
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