Witch Mountain - Mobile of Angels | Review

Sad news, ladies and gents. Following the release of Witch Mountain's new album, Mobile of Angels, vocalist Uta Plotkin will be leaving the band. But not without some final performances leading up to the release date. Those lucky enough to catch those will certainly be in for a treat. As will the smart ones who pick up the band's latest doom opus.

Not to put too much emphasis on one particular member but Witch Mountain has risen to prominence on the vocal chords of Plotkin. South of Salem and Cauldron of the Wild saw the Portland band become a relative household name in doom circles following Plotkin joining in 2009. Mobile of Angels is no different in that it leans heavily on the power and depth of her voice. At least they're getting the most out of her as Plotkin's work here is diverse and powerful as has become to be expected.

Opener “Psycho Animundi” encapsulates much of the album's attributes. Under a steady plod Plotkin dictates the feel beyond the thickness of the doomy tone. The riffs themselves effectively reside in a sinister doom realm but there's also an alluring quality that draws the listener in with a hypnotic pulse regardless of vocals. There is a power within that hits like a brick when they drop into a riff from a pause. Dramatic effect on a musical level.

Mobile of Angels has a definite blues influence hanging over it. It shines through like a breaking dawn in both the music and vocals. The mix of heavy-footed doom and the slight twang and conflicting sorrow of blues is captivating. But it's not all downtrodden. Free-wheeling solos and uplifting guitars protect the overall tone from falling into despair.

The outright power does sort of trail off as the album progresses. “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)” is the bluesiest while the title track brings a psychedelic, eerie, lounge feel with choral vocals. Slithering guitars, rumbling riffs and plodding cadences weave through the fog toward the album's conclusion.

All the while Plotkin does what she does best, pulling the listener close with a sweet and sultry croon then blowing it all wide open as her voice reaches for the heavens. Each and every track bears at least one moment that is so stirring that you can’t help but close your eyes to the glory.

“The Shape Truth Takes” see Plotkin at her most operatic and sorrowful. Forlorn melodies pull the listener further down in a pool of tears. Gradually the entirety swells on determination, rising and rising with power and volume until bursting with pent up emotion. Those moments are massive in every way, and punctuate the band's prowess. The track also sends the album off in a way befitting Plotkin's moving forward. Onward and upward.

Regardless of band member situations, Mobile of Angels is a tremendous doom album. Not quite as powerful overall as many but Witch Mountain know how to work dynamics and make the most out of an undeniable vocal talent. The remaining members (Nate Carson, Rob Wrong, and Charles Thomas) have vowed to carry on with the band (as they should) but it will be a tough task indeed to replace a voice that has become synonymous with the band's identity. Best of luck to Witch Mountain, and Plotkin can be proud in knowing she left leaving nothing to be desired.

Matt Hinch

Band info: www.facebook.com/witchmountain
Label info: www.svartrecords.com

Matt Hinch lives an unassuming life on the backroads outside Forest Mills, Ontario, Canada. He packs in as much metal as he possible can amid factory work, raising three daughters with his wife and working the land. In addition to Scratch the Surface Matt also writes for Hellbound, Metal Bandcamp, About Heavy Metal and his own blog, Kingdom of Noise.
Keep up with him on Twitter @KingdomofNoise.