From classic metal to folky-synth ballads, Black Mountain’s third full-length release Wilderness Heart runs the gamut of psychedelic rock. Their sound exudes thoughts of analog tape machines, single room recording studios and ’70s acid rock.
There are a few diversions to note. At times, the similarity to classic Black Sabbath is downright eerie, though the Prince of Darkness would probably be proud of the demonic lyrics, thundering rhythms and devilishly executed guitars in “Let Spirits Ride.” “Buried by the Blues” starts off identical to Indio’s “Hard Sun” except that it sounds like it is being played on a turntable with the speed turned down. “The Space of Your Mind” has a country-folk tint reminiscent of early Ben Lee records. There is an overall softer sound when compared to their previous albums and the songs are a bit disjointed, feeling more like a compilation rather than a complete work.
Having said that, there are some absolutely spectacular songs. “Old Fang” is throwback complete with rock organs and rhythmic guitars designed to be played during summer road trips. “Radiant Hearts” is a softer track with a nice melody delivered atop acoustic guitars and dark synths. The title-track “Wilderness Heart” presents a tough and punchy sound with organs, heavy riffs and an ascending but brief interlude which builds up into a short and powerful head-banging opportunity. “Roller Coaster” starts off with a riff that sounds vintage, yet seems fresh and heavy. The standout is the lead track,”The Hair Song,” with a bluesy slide guitar and catchy vocals from Stephen McBean and Amber Webber.
Overall, Wilderness Heart sounds like a collection of chart-toppers from a ’70s metalhead magazine.