Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Red Mountains - Down With The Sun (Review)

Release date: Sept 1st 2015. Label: Nasoni Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Down With The Sun: Tracklisting

Six Hands
Sleepy Desert Blues
Silver Grey Sky
Moral Panic

Band Members:

Simen Mathiassen – Drums
Sverre Dalen – Bass
Jostein Wigenstad – Guitar
Magnus Riise - Guitar / Vocal


I first became aware of Red Mountains earlier this year when they released – Sun – from their forthcoming debut album – Down With The Sun. Sun excited me quite a bit as it showed a band with a great vision with all things Desert Rock, Psych Rock and Stoner Metal. The song had me from the word go and I wanted to hear more. As it’s one of the best Stoner Metal songs I’ve heard this year.

So I was pretty excited to receive a promo for Red Mountains debut album. Sun still remains the standout track on the album but the other 5 tracks on the album are great in their own way. The thing I like most about the album is how different the songs are to each other. Red Mountains play through a maze of different genres, noises and sounds.

Down With The Sun is a very diverse album as you’re instantly drawn into Red Mountains almost barren desert fuelled world. Opening track – Six Hands – opens with a heavy guitar riff that oozes confidence before the haunting vocals of – Magnus – appear. The lead vocals have a slight 90s grunge vibe. This is primarily Stoner Metal territory as Red Mountains create huge riffs that have a distinctive psychedelic touch towards the end of the song. The atmosphere becomes slightly subdued which allows Red Mountains to play a few impressive guitar solos. The drumming is commanding through out as each member shows you what they’re capable of even this early on the album.

Second track – Sun – is a song I’ve been raving on about for the last 3 months or so when I first heard it. It’s a song that will send chills down your spine. An intriguing mix of early Monster Magnet style space rock riffs with the heavier desert/stoner metal vibes from Stoner Metal innovators – Kyuss. The vocals only appear for a couple of minutes before the song becomes an instrumental affair with the band experimenting with their sound. Psychedelic/Desert Rock sounds appear towards the end of the song as Red Mountains slow things right down as the mood of the album becomes reflective and more forgiving.

Third Track – Rodents – is a more hard rock affair with the band leaving the trippy psychedelics behind and creating a song that is very different compared to the first two. Well for the first few minutes the song is very different as Red Mountains become a 70s Classic Rock inspired unit and then they return to normal spaced out territory. The music becomes slightly psychedelic and the Stoner/Desert vibes return with a bang. You do get the feeling that Rodents is comprised of two different songs as the 2nd half is very different from to the 1st half. Red Mountains deserve credit for trying something different here by blending Classic Hard Rock with a more modern Psych Stoner Metal sound.

Fourth Track – Sleepy Desert Blues – is perhaps the trippiest and far out there moment on the album. As it’s a mind-expanding journey with Red Mountains channelling the sounds of The Doors. The trippy and almost ambient psychedelic noises will appeal to fans of OM, Kyuss and even Hawkwind. Red Mountains even find the time to play some experimental jam-based riffs. It can be very slow at times but that works to the bands advantage as there’s a lot going on with this song. The drumming is the main standout here as they slowly became the main focus with the guitars adding different layers of noise that has echoes of 70s Progressive Rock.

Fifth Track – Silver Grey Sky – is another epic from these trippy rockers as once again Red Mountains prove how creative they can be. As the band throw everything at you, Psych Rock, Space Rock, Desert Rock, Stoner Rock are now joined by an Ambient Post-Rock sound as Red Mountains will expand your mind into another dimension. The vocals only appear for a few minutes before the crazy jam-based experimental sounds transport you to the barren desert wastelands once again.

The final track – Moral Panic – sees Red Mountains become slightly possessed by the trippy vibes as they venture into more demonic waters. The album has now gone full circle as Red Mountains return to the realm of Stoner Metal with a more familiar sound created on the first song. That doesn’t stop Red Mountains branching out into as many different musical directions as they possibly can. Whatever mood Red Mountains venture into, the album builds upto an exciting finish and it’s a musical journey you want to experience as many times as you can.

Down With The Sun is an exceptional debut album from a band that has created something special here. Red Mountains are going to make a lasting impression within the Stoner Metal community with this album. Down With The Sun is going to end up on a few Album Of The Year lists. That’s how good it is. Ignore this album and miss out. Simple as that!!

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Red Mountains for the promo. Down With The Sun will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl from Nasoni Records from Sept 1st 2015.