Mount Salem – Endless | Review

Emily Kopplin’s gliding vocals and the haunting cries from her Hammond organs give Mount Salem a much needed USP in an age where revivalist bands are more common than the cold. Endless, the band’s first full-length release sees them arrive already firmly embedded within a sound they are making their own. Formed in the summer of 2012, it didn’t take the Chicago troupe long to find a record deal. Now, the band, signed to Metal Blade can show the world what the label saw in them.

Adding to Kopplin’s musical arsenal are Kyle Morrison’s fuzzy guitar tones that sound like they’re being played through broken amps, with a heavy influence of metals forefathers. Lost in a haze of marijuana smoke and guided by the ‘tune low, play slow’ policy of doom rock, rhythm section in Mark Hewett (bass) and Cody Davidson (drums) complete the band with a stylish execution.

Buried in the centre of the album is "Mescaline," an instrumental tremolo guitar track reminiscent of the brooding aesthetics of Nancy Sinatra’s "Bang Bang," albeit played with a stoners touch. Along with its sequel, "Mescaline II," are arguably the records finest moments. As the latter track kicks in, it hits you straight in the chest as a gutsy, dirty rhythm takes the lead, with Kopplin’s vocals already sounding trademark and a terrific wah-lathered solo adding to the songs prowess.

Elsewhere, Lucid has an overriding single quality with its powerful, melodic chorus and a refined focus for memorability and repetition – but it is the more obscure, progressive tracks which see the band really hit the mark.

The organ in album finale "The End" makes the skin tingle and their hairs on your body stand, terrified, on end. "Full Moon’s" playful experimentation with dynamics, with light and dark give the song a defining character while The Tower wouldn’t sound out of place in an old Hammer horror film.

Endless provides the listener with a fantastic introduction to the band. Their mission statement has been made and it’s a record that packs plenty of punch. You are left feeling however, that there is still room for this band to grow as a collective and as songwriters. Just as like the likes of Black Sabbath and Pentagram did before them, this is a debut release that sets the tone but there masterpiece lives somewhere further down the line.

Phil Weller

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Phil Weller is a freelance writer with over 4 years experience of journalism under his belt. Having created pieces for the likes of BBC Radio 2 and reporting on the London 2012 Olympics, he began writing about the music he is passionate at the turn of the year. He and now writes for various sites including Planet Mosh, Manchester Rocks and Sludgelord. Follow his deluded ramblings @philipweller.