But enough about me, let's talk about Trondheim (Norway) residents Red Mountains and their debut album 'Down With The Sun'. According to their facebook page, the band only started out last year (2014) but if that's true, I guess all members must have been active in several bands before and have been known each other for quite some time. Either that, or these guys have a serious flair for good ol' fashioned psychedelic rock music. This is something for the Desertfests/Roadburns/Up In Smokes and so on...
Because that's indeed what we get, six exquisite songs, ranging from vintage doom over psychedelic hard rock towards nostalgic stoner rock. Influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Brant Bjork this quartet puts rock music back into its place. Although they're not as heavy as some other bands in the genre, Red Mountains does impress, mainly with the quality of songwriting and the perfect live feel. So yes, I'll probably finish this review by mentioning I want to see this live.
The album opens with 'Six Hands', a mid- to down-tempo song that also seems to incorporate some grunge elements from bands like Alice In Chains and such. From there on we're treathed to fuzzy riffs, firm drums and excellent vocals. Closer 'Moral Panic' returns the grunge-feel and is a great song containing a lot of power. The single 'Sun' follows quite a similar path, be it with a bit more variation within the song. I can see why they chose this song as a first single. It clearly shows what Red Mountains stands for: quality stoner rock.
'Rodents' takes the band way back into the seventies and quickly turns into an up-tempo party rocker with a very high sing-along capacity. I can already imagine large audiences shouting along with 'I want to dance with the rodents' while raising their (often devil horned) fists in absolute ecstasy. That being said, these are some nice guitar solos, which really is a compliment coming from someone who isn't into solos that much. Yet, here they give the whole a blissful psychedelic atmosphere.
'Sleepy Desert Blues' is the mandatory ballad on this album and damn, what a ballad this is. This is melancholic doom loaded blues rock from a very high level with brilliant vocals. In a way it reminds me of some of the slower songs from Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats and even Jefferson Airplane comes to mind somehow. 'Silver Grey Sky' returns the groove and the power of the almighty riff in perfect old school tradition. Yet, in the middle it suddenly turns into a slow but psychedelic jamsession, again proving the versatility of this band.
We don't often talk about the bass guitar, which actually is a shame. Bassists are immensely important in a band and can make or break a song. On this album, the bass is the soul, touching the very inner core of the listener and that deserves a huge compliment as well. So, Sverre, keep up the good work.
Yet, I should compliment the entire band for this album. It's only a debut and the level is already quite high. I'm very curious about what this quartet comes up with in the future and (here it is) I really want to see this live. After all, the stage is where this music truly grows and impresses. Personally, I can't wait to feel that proverbial 'tear in the eye' again, this time without eye-drops...