Reviewers are writers, by and large. I mean writers in “The Thing We Want To Do” sense. Obviously reviews take some writing. Writers are rarely content to give you only what you need. We want to give you what WE need. We need to make any number of statements about anything we are moved to write about. It is really good for us. But it is not always good for you. You come here expecting to be entertained, I hope, but mostly expecting to be given a service. To have a record explained to you in a way that clearly guides you to the best and away from the worst music. Too much else is a waste of your time.
I don’t want to waste too much of your time analyzing this beast, so I am providing everything you really ought to know in the following paragraph.
Mountains Crave has given us an epic black metal record, in the vein of the best Hypocrisy songs but twisted to the black metal side, and have produced it with an ear for the weighty and grand, and you should grab it.
That is really all you NEED to know. But the reason I compare it to the best epic Hypocrisy songs is because, like Hypocrisy, Mountains Crave is not really about the genre niche. It is about the moving of your soul, and this black metal record works beyond being a black metal record. It works as a series of incredible, catchy and relentless compositions which you can listen to in a mix with Nile, Cattle Decapitation, Opeth and David Bowie. The niche descriptor is really just short-hand for you, the reader, to know where this music begins. The songs are sufficient in and of themselves, and the record is self-contained. It needs no niche to be relevant.
We Were When We Were Not by Mountains Crave&lt;/a&gt;
Again, the Hypocrisy reference gives you most of the relevant info. The epic nature draws from the same well as “A Coming Race” from the (IMHO) utterly unbeatable The Final Chapter. Mountains Crave keeps to the blacker side of the metal spectrum, to be certain, but the majestic, Beethovanistic simplicity of the compositions thrills and mesmerizes the listener in much the same way as the middle of that Hypocrisy classic.
The blackness is a result of standard tropes being heavily used in the performances. The vocals are mainly screeched, but there are some death roars toward the end and throaty snarls toward the beginning of the album. The guitar playing is fairly straight forward “icy” chords, the drumming, again, straight forward fast, really fast, fast, blast, slow. No member is breaking any new ground as a musician, in other words. But all are competent and up to the task at hand.
So too the production, which given the style gives the performances the proper amount of heft and depth. It should be noted that when the band wants an extra dollop of atmosphere, as with the eerie, yet familiar “As We Were When We Were Not,” the production gets it just right. The song acts as a brief respite from the otherwise constant onslaught and is dreamily produced, thus holding the motif steady.
Again, all of this could be read as standard to the niche, but that is doing the record a disservice. The whole is more than the sum, and that whole is extremely satisfying. And again, this is due to the compositions, which again, are incredibly compelling and moving pieces of metal.
So again, Mountains Crave has given us an epic black metal record, in the vein of some of the best Hypocrisy songs turned blackened, have produced it with an ear for the weighty and grand, and you should grab it. And I mean it.