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It’s long been lamented that for practical and commercial purposes the album format is dead or at least in irreversible decline. But Cosmos Terros is a reminder of what a great album can be. It’s not just a compartmentalised commercial package, but a single artistic statement and an immersive sonic organism. Like the sprawling expanse of Sleep’s Jerusalem, Mt. Mountain’s debut album plays as a continuous sonic idea. Sure there’s a distinct character to each of the album’s six tracks, but concurrently there’s an ebb, flow and ultimate evolution of sound which courses throughout the recording.
With elements of sludgy stoner rock, doom metal and jangly psych, Cosmos Terros from Mt. Mountain is an all-encompassing experience that demands your complete attention. Drop in.
With a core sound built around grandiose guitar riffs, minimalistic vocals and trance-inducing rhythms, there are certainly some undeniable doom metal undercurrents to the LP. Dragging notes and expansive sonic landscapes also evoke drone influence Earth. This said the group’s sludgy doom meets drone is embellished with equally progressive yet jangly psychedelia. There’s some easy comparison to Pink Floyd, circa Saucerful of Secrets. A combination of lengthy instrumental passages, growling croons, swirling organ work and fevered mysticism also calls back to the Jim Morrison-Ray Manczarek dynamic of The Doors. Merging the brunt force of doom metal, the ambience of drone and idyllic psychedelia, Mt. Mountain establish their own musical space.
The thematic idea behind the LP is an alternation between harmony and discord. Light and shadow course throughout the album, reflected by an incessant musical slipping between consonance and dissonance, density and sparsity as well as loud and soft. But even at its most chaotic there’s a quiet control beneath the writhing musical soundscape.
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Clocking in over eight minutes, hypnotic opener Seek the Sun pushes forward with crashing unison riffs. Frontman Stephen Bailey’s dazed vocals exhort the listener further inwards. Diablo follows suit, albeit working prominent raga rock elements into the track’s ascendant chord progression. The pummeling drum figure, echoing mantric vocals and ominous fretwork of fourth track Elevation batters the listener with an even harder edge. Buzzing drones and incisive riffs shift throughout the mix. There’s a building sense of claustrophobia and density which begins to creep in and replace the comparative sparseness of earlier tracks.
Moon Desire is the point of immersion. Heavier effects-laden guitar licks build towards the album’s apocalyptic climax, saturating the listener in sound. Pass On sends the album ebbing to oblivion, but not before a final bone-crushing-build.
While much of the material on Cosmos Terros is more than capable of standing upon its own legs, the sense of cohesion and energy which pulses throughout the album’s lengthy instrumental passages is what truly makes the music greater than the sum of its parts. This album is something to be experienced. Drop the needle and let the sonic haze roll in.