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Review: Mount Salem - Endless
Mount Salem

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2014
Duration: 42:28
Tracks: 8
Genre: Doom Metal

Rating: 2.75/5

Review online: March 9, 2014
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating

Rated 3/5 (60%) (4 Votes)

It's unfortunate that prior to listening I knew exactly what I'd hear from Mount Salem's debut album. Hell, even the name screams retro doom. Of course they're led by a female vocalist too, and put Mount Salem straight in line with their contemporaries Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony, and Witch Mountain. I must admit the artwork is a treat here, if entirely typical of the style; but then the same could be said about death metal art or power metal art. Anyway, it's really fucking cool, and reminds me of the illustrations from the Edgar Allan Poe anthologies which used to creep me out as a kid.

I wish the music was as cool as the artwork, but really this isn't half bad. I can tell you for sure Mount Salem don't bring anything new to the table, and I'm sure the steamy vocals, and seventies-style riffing will be familiar to anyone versed in the ways of heavy metal and doom, the way Sabbath rocked it. At least the band seems sincere. This is one of those highly en-vogue styles of music at the moment, with everyone looking to get a slice of the pie without any particular act truly managing to reaffirm or even build upon the previously established values. Clearly Mount Salem brings naught but the influence on their collective sleeves to the table; but the riffs are well channeled, the rhythms are a rollicking, and the vocals both passionate and haunting.

They do verge into sticky, stoner/desert rock type territory however, and I reckon that's something that could be a deciding factor for some. Again, it's an element common of the style, and the end result to me feels more Dazed And Confused than it does Hammer Horror, or more Kyuss than it does Sabbath - despite an obvious attempt to honor the latter. Either way, if you have a love for this type of stuff I'm sure it won't be an issue, and it works in giving the music that sweltering, smoky vibe, especially in "Mescaline"; this could have easily been used in film for an acid trip scene, or even a meeting with a dodgy fortune teller with its shimmering instrumentation and humid atmosphere.

So really, we have an atypical release here, one that should please those with a love for the style, and offer nothing of interest to those who don't. I can't say there's any truly great songwriting here, or other such standout factors, but I'm hardly an expert when it comes to this type of fare. All I can say is that, when compared to what I have heard, this doesn't stack up all to well. Interesting enough, and not all the bad to listen to, but I wouldn't want to hear it again, and as such wouldn't recommend.

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