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I love it when a band does something new within a template- "innovating" shouldn't necessarily mean adding a bunch of third-rate screamo into black metal, or making doom that whines exclusively about old girlfriends, or I dunno, adding drums to Enya and calling it Alcest. Mountain God are a really good doom band, and they don't sound like much else- no gimmicks, no fancyness, no albums called Sunbather, just shit that's solid as hell and also remarkably interesting to listen to.
Mountain God traffic in a template that's rather simple but really effective. Quite the grower, too! Essentially, it's somewhere between Echoes of Yul's spacey vibes and riffing structures and a more traditional, much darker doom feel. There's a real sense of continuous momentum throughout each song- a steamroller with glow in the dark stars all over it, perhaps; the songs just move forward irresistibly- often leaning into a rather hypnotic territory before another well placed riff shakes you out of your daze and gets you pumping your fist again. Things tend to swing between a dark, threatening spaced out Candlemass-isms, vaguely sludgy, hardcore-ish riffs like in the Neurosis loving Fallout, and stuff that's closer to Sleep- you get the feeling that Mountain God haven't really defined what exactly they want in their riffs yet, but that's cool; it's just their first EP and they've got plenty of time on their hands.
It's certainly a good thing this band is onto; this murky, spacey, deep sound but it's not perfect by any means. "Dark, spacey doom" sounds to me like the best genre in the world, but it just isn't there yet. Vocals- an obvious weak point, a few too many of them, different things tried there that don't always stick. The main thing though is the obvious correlation between the amount of extra texture and the quality; those shimmering, almost dISEMBOWELMENT-esque clean guitars in the first track, the vocals and other layers in the closer, Fields of Life's subtle synths. You get the feeling that perhaps MG are a bit unsure as to how much of this stuff they want to add, to which I'd say, add all of it! There's this potential here, this chance for their follow up to be a super atmospheric gem that people will namedrop alongside the best doom acts out there, but they aren't there yet. Everything's still a bit unsure, a bit inchoate, a bit underdeveloped.
When you think about it though, if your main criticism for a band is "please keep on adding layers and maybe make your songs a fair bit longer" then it's a bit of a compliment for the band, really. Mountain God aren't there yet, but this is a really entertaining EP and I"m really excited about seeing what else these guys do. Check them out so you can say you heard them before they became huge.
(originally written for www.thesleepingshaman.com)