Sunday, 3 September 2017

RED MOUNTAINS ~ SLOW WANDER .. review


Norway has always been a source of the slightly left of centre, the quirky and the unusual when it comes to music something that becomes glaringly evident when you delve into the nations diverse and varied rock scene. Whether its because of the strange array of  midnight sun and short daylight hours, that is the countries norm, or that there are still strands of Viking Bezerker running through the peoples DNA Desert Psychlist is not sure but there is something about Norwegian rock that is just that little bit different.
Red MountainsSimen Mathiassen (Drums), Sverre Dalen (Bass), Jostein Wigenstad (Guitar) and Magnus Riise (Guitar / Vocal) , from Trondheim are no exception to that particular rule, the quartet bringing to the table a blend of lysergic grooviness and desert swagger, overlaid with clean, clear vocal melodies, that although easy on the ear has an element of dissonance and disharmony bubbling just beneath its surface,  the band creating a strange and exhilarating mixture of the sweet and sour that can be both soothing and jarring in equal measure, as can be witnessed on the bands latest opus "Slow Wander"


"Slow Wander" is a very apt title for an album that does exactly what it says on the tin, songs like opener "Home" with it's superb lilting vocal delivery underpinned by solid thundering percussion, the atmospheric "Acid Wedding" with it's slow plodding doom-ish undercurrent  and "Endless Ocean" with it's prog meets indie psych groove and lysergic guitar textures, are paced not at a stoner gallop but at a more sedate gait allowing listeners the time to fully appreciate and absorb the subtle shifts in tempo and time, colour and texture the songs take on their respective journey's. Mathiassen's mix of intricate and brutal percussion and Dalen's thrumming bass lines are the foundation around which Wigenstad and Riise lay a plethora of six-string colouring, the guitarists using a variety of tricks and effects to fill the spaces the rhythm section leave for them. It is this guitar pairing that is the secret to Red Mountains sound, the two guitarists unafraid to use atonality and disharmony as tools with which to colour their riffs and solo's, mixing them in equal measure with melody and harmony to create a sound that is slightly off kilter and wrong but at the same time is melodic and right. Add into this slightly off/on musical equation Riise's perfectly pitched clean vocal tones and the whole thing all comes together perfectly.
Check it out .....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

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