Chicago metal, check, doom metal, check, Chicago doom metal, holy hell double check. Enter Mount Salem and their latest release “Endless”. Chicago has a vibrant doom scene with members like Novembers Doom, Bongripper, Trouble, Earthen Grave, Deep Space Pilot, Wings of Severance to name a few of the heavy hitters, enter Mount Salem. So how do they fit in on this scene?
They fit like a glove, and the only questions I am left to ponder is how did I miss them for so long? A bonus here as well, this is another female fronted doom band, to add to my ever growing list of fanboy bands alongside Uzala, Avanterium, and The Wounded Kings. Emily has just an amazing voice, its been a real joy to discover the female fronted doom bands they really add a level of emotion that is spine chilling. Lets get into the music, as the album opens with ‘Good Times’ nice low end heavy stuff. Power riffing, hint of old school sounding keyboards (think Ray Manzarek), power bass and drums. Then Emily comes in, voice like an angel, and the level of emotion she adds to this windstorm is, well beyond words. She delivers it with power and emotion, all the while the music is right there in your face. This kind of music leaves so much to explore, its so easy to fixate on the vocals but when you focus on the music it just carriers you away, its so haunting. One look at the track listing and I realized I was only on track one, buckle in this can only get better, right?!?
Oh how right that is, tracks like ‘The Tower’ and ‘Full Moon’ just go on to showcase the musical talent these windy city dwellers posses. Its truly a wonderfully haunting listening experience. ‘Mescaline’ is nice short musical interlude, fuzz, keyboards, and vibration, almost reminds you of the time you met God, well that may be a story for another day, but its damn trippy! Then ‘Mescaline II’ drops the bottom out of things, heavy riffing is the order for the day, combined with some wonderfully delivered vocals and damn fine bass lines. Closing things out is ‘Hysteria’ and ‘The End’, they go to further the case that Mount Salem has the imagination and talent to bring the goods.
Mount Salem certainly has a rightful place alongside the Chicago metal greats, as well as their worldwide contemporaries on the more doomy side of metal. They have captures a modern feel coupled with an old school vibe that equates to an amazing release. Taken by themselves the music is amazing, the vocals are amazing but add them together and we get “Endless”, sure to rank among the tops for domm this year. Do yourselves a favor and seek this one out, you will not be disappointed! They have captured something amazing here and we all need to revel in its darkness, where there is darkness there is beauty and if you dont believe me just listen to “Endless”. Mount Salem takes on a trippy journey through the blackness and unknown, complemented with pounding riffs and beats, its a trip I will take again and again. I hope you can join me!