Mount Salem slide from the shadows into the flickering candlelight of the underground doom scene wih the impressive Endless. Emily Kopplin projects to far more soaring vocal heights than most in the genre, while still keeping a sense of good, earworming Ozzy-type sing songy rhyme schemes in place. Atop a fertile soil of warm organ and murky blues riffs slowed to a mutant snail’s crawl, her voice is near angellic without the dramatic over-stimulus of symphonic metal, for example. This shit is fuzzy and foggy like your head after a few beers, the time slowed down center at the eye of the storm. From the strayed down the wrong path ghost story of “Good Times” to midway point stunning standout “Full Moon”, the band are well in control of dynamics, pacing and intent. “Full Moon” in particular is gorgeous, a quiet and soulful musing on trying to outrun things when your time is up. The bass crawls, tom drums thump and ethereal textures haunt until the band storm into a mid tempo Sabbath stomp.
Fans of heavier doom will perhaps regret the fact that the vocals stay pretty smooth the whole album, with the band sounding most effective in the heavier sections when Kopplin really wails. She may not have the storytelling ability of flute witch Alia O’Brian of the hard to top Blood Ceremony ( I mean, “Ballad of the Weird Sisters” is like THE peak modern song of this genre, in my book), but Mount Salem still handle their own very well. “Mescaline” and “Mescaline II” compliment one another with almost desert rock guitar over spiritual organ and reverb that would cheer Chris Isaak followed by a sludgy doom variation of the same theme, perhaps the most willfully powerful tune on the album. Ascending a dream and questioning reality, Emily wades through the hallucination of this world as the band churn with insistent purpose. This song alone raises the whole record to the level you can hear the other songs almost reaching. It’s like the hull of a ship parting the waters of conciousness and carrying the hopes of life’s gathered detritus towards one final light. And then the guitar solo carries your soul away.
Click HERE for a taste.