Saturday, 6 August 2016

Mountain Dust - Nine Years (2016) / 90%

Montréal’s Mountain Dust were pretty good when I saw them live with Dopethrone and Zaum some years ago but I had no idea they were this good. They obviously really took their time to craft this debut album since it’s inspired and spectacular rock with all the right influences.
Undeniably rooted in the past, Nine Years is nevertheless able to sound fresh and modern due to the band’s ability to mix styles in a tasteful way. You get the proto-metal influence from Led Zeppelin (not in a copycat way like Wolfmother though), the heavy organ sound of The Doors but also a big dose of stoner, blues and psychedelic rock. It’s also sorrowful and mesmerizing mostly due to the mournful and raw but awesome vocals and the evocative heavy riffs. The use of the slide guitar brings the blues in a great way and I was surprised how well the instrument was integrated to their rock core. They also use some folk and country elements such as the clean overture of southern “Tale of the Red Rain” and its desert mighty sound.

They remind me Royal Thunder (one of my favorite current rock bands) in the way they rock hard and almost borders the metal realms in those aggressive moments but also the fact that they’re really damn varied. I mean “Lonely War” almost sounds a dark version of a Beatles ballad and there’s other longer tracks where they unleash the heavy organ stoner/hard rock sound such as the title track. The seven numbers are all tremendous but the band kept the longer ones for the second half and this was a judicious decision as I feel the flow of the LP is excellent.

For a debut album, Mountain Dust wrote something very accomplished and mature. I now feel bad for missing the album release gig since this is surely one of the best rock records of 2016. It’s genuine but still inventive, it’s old school but contemporary and it’s hard to ignore. Popular retro rock bands should open for Mountain Dust.

Originally published on The Metal Observer

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