1st May 2017 – Self-released
02. Violent Night
03. Smoke Mountain
The 70s is firmly back in doom flavour. This resurgence – evolving over the past few years – has produced a bunch of solid records and seems to work equally for bands who just go for the fuzzed-out sound as well as those who’re looking at expanding a bit.
Smoke Mountain are largely the former. The band know how they want to sound and stick to the script – heavy doom riffs drowned in effects and layered, drippy vocals. Strong Electric Wizard and Blood Ceremony vibes and an exaggerated retro feel results in a groove-heavy EP with its influences firmly on its sleeve.
Over the course of the three tracks, Smoke Mountain’s style stays pretty consistently echo-y and cavernous. Opener “Demon” is an excellent stoner/occult doom track with an engaging groove and bounce. “Violent Night“, a personal favourite, is held together by a repeated mantra and the interplay between the vocals, and the dense guitarwork is the most effective example on display. “Smoke Mountain“, the closer, is pretty much business as usual, but its riffs are a little chunkier that previous examples and the transitions between sections are more pronounced.
The EP sticks a little too firmly to the script in places, and though tracks are a little more varied by the conclusion there’s a sense that the ideas are stacked rather heavily towards the beginning of the record. With releases like this there’s a sense that they can expand later on; they’ve played it safe but there’s nothing out-of-place, and by doing so there’s a focus on the riffs. The vocals, which really are the showcase here, fare suitably hook-y without being too pop. If they had a USP, this is it – future releases would do well to bring them further into the mix. Ultimately though, the EP sounds great – just as cavernous as modern production can make it – and is an effective vehicle for their gloomy compositions.
No shame in playing it safe for a debut EP – the feel and sound is there and that’s crucial. Smoke Mountain produce solid, well-rounded doom with a heavy occult feel and will fit right in with the various US doom bands doing their thing.