Red Mountains – Slow Wander (2017) REVIEW

Whether or not their name pays tribute to Utah’s deserts or southern Westeros, these Norwegian heavy psych/stoner rock up-and-comers set an unmistakable mood and groove upon it better than most. While the warm, fuzzy half-spaced out jams of their debut ‘Down With The Sun‘ were effective, the shining moments were found in the more rock flavored tracks of it’s A-side. Here on their follow-up the band have doubled down on their layered, desert-fuzz with a full and bold production job that allows for their heavy psych leanings to shine. This new found fidelity generously allows for a more bulky guitar push when the doom-toasted riffs need to hit harder. The slightly unsure edges of ‘Down With The Sun’ have been smoothed out brilliantly and the band sounds fully confident on ‘Slow Wander’.

The first single “Rat King” shows great progress in song-craft as vocalist/guitarist Magnus Riise’s belts out chorus and harmony not unlike a younger Jerry Cantrell. With so many fledgling bands pulling ‘heavy psych revival’ records out of their asses over the past decade it is rare to find a band so concerned with crafting memorable, thoughtful arrangements. Even at their most excessive, the 10+ minute “Endless Ocean”, the band still find a way to pull the song back into focus as it wanders. This shows great progress compared to the oozy fluttering of the previous record’s “Silver Grey Sky”, a beautiful eight minute song that made less of a statement and didn’t seem necessary. I think the biggest flaw ‘Slow Wander’ has is also its greatest virtue: The slick production and easy groove of the music is warming, familiar and all too inviting. It can pass you by too easily and without repeated listen it would be easy to zone out and just feel its ease.

At the end of the day what residue the album leaves me with is what matters most; ‘Slow Wander’ first calms me with it’s A-side and slowly creeps me out on the B-side with some snarling, bluesy guitar tones. The peak for me is what I’d consider a sort of proto-doom influenced set of songs between “Fog”, the harrowing riffs of “Acid Wedding” and the triumphant closer “Returning”. It is an album that carries an old set of souls into a modern age, a reserved and comfortable experience that warrants closer inspection, one that shows a band not only improving but nearly ready to outdo their peers.

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Artist Red Mountains
Type Album
Released September 1, 2017
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Genres

Ease into yourself. 3.75/5.0