Heavy Residents of Chiraq
Starting off with a personal quote from Charles Manson usually isn’t how you win over a crowd but luckily for us, a riff as heavy as his sentence follows the quote. I found myself replaying track one simply just to hear the quote. Mount Salem is a female lead Doom Rock band from Chicago, IL. Something about crisp vocals from a woman that float across heavy riffs can’t be ignored nor denied lately. With bands like Witch Mountain and Windhand already leaving deep tracks, you can be sure to hear more la femme fatal doom in the near future. Mount Salem was formed in 2012 and released their first EP in 2013. Members have not changed since forming and include Mark Hewett(bass), Cody Davidson(drums), Kyle Morrison(guitar), and Emily Kopplin(vocals/organ). Currently they are with Metal Blade Records.
Mount Salem’s ‘Endless’ is a 6 track EP with Kopplin’s chillingly soulful vocals sewn through the foundation of clean psych-rock tumbled with coarse doom. I have listened to this album numerous times and I’m still amazed at how great Hewett, Davidson, and Morrison are with their composition. Their sound is original but familiar. There are mellow bass notes through the verses of “Lucid” that I wish repeated for 20 minutes. Only great psych-doom can deliver a riff you wish never ceased but this group does not hold tracks hostage that long; they keep you thirsty for more. Another appreciated point is with Mount Salem’s build-and-rip. Alfred Hitchcock once said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” For example, the track “Full Moon” builds anxiety with light-noted riffs and soft vocals that make you scratch for the trigger and when Mount Salem pulls that trigger the bang is long, deep, and hard; salvation ramping at speeds that burn. The lyrics throughout the album are stacked slant rhymes that please in poetry but generally this is not used with doom and psych rock. Following “Full Moon” is a number called “Mescaline” which is guaranteed to calm the album just as the definition of this controlled substance is noted. In fact, the title is perfect for its position in the album and aids to set the level for “Hysteria,” another amazing riff monster right around the corner.
All in all, I think Mount Salem could have fought with Windhand for the Doom Metal Album of the Year in 2013. I urge the next chance you get to visit their bandcamp.com site (listed below) and experience this pleasure I could barely hold for words. Especially for a band hailing from one of the more dangerous cities in the United States, their attentions are focused. NativeGround is eagerly waiting for the follow up album from these Chicago-based doomers.