Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Robot rock - 79%

we hope you die, June 10th, 2021

Imagine a sludge metal band lifting conceptual and sonic material from Blade Runner, let that concept inhabit your mind for a moment. How does it taste? Then take this Platonic form and measure it against the actually existing Texan act known as Mountain of Smoke. My guess is that expectations are likely to be thwarted, but not in an entirely displeasing manner.

The pleasures to be found on their latest EP ‘Gods of Biomechanics V1.5’ are more deeply rooted than the obvious nods to the sci-fi classic that take the form of synth lines and samples lifted directly from the film. Superficially speaking, these aesthetic adornments are placed atop a fairly by-the-numbers sludge metal template of droning, down-tuned riffs, crash cymbal happy drums, and barked, punky vocals. But delve a little further into the actual riffcraft on display here and their homage to Blade Runner runs a little deeper.

Sludge metal can be repetitive, certainly minimal, but it largely seems to emanate from a very organic place, a place of the earth, it is born of a very human all too human spirit. Mountain of Smoke beg to differ. The riffs are robotically repetitive, the drums stick to rhythms and beats in a purposefully persistent way, often augmented by fills that mimic the sequential sounds of factory machinery in their fluid oscillations. This leaves the guitars free to hammer home the same riff or refrain without fear of tedium, and certainly free from accusations of lack of direction. Synthetica abounds.

This is the industrial setting of the Blade Runner dystopia. The traditional metallic elements are engaged in an act of world building, or rather invocations to the world that has already very much been built within the film itself. With the scene set, Mountain of Smoke set about fleshing out the drama to take place within this world, which on ‘Gods of Biomechanics V1.5’ finds its expression through the synths, samples, and lyrics.

An uncharitable reading of this dichotomy would find that this conceptual material is being used to prop up fairly run of the mill sludge metal. But I cannot help but conclude otherwise. This is in fact a work of symbiosis. Each element compliments the other, and through their interaction we get both a story and the sonic world in which said story is to play itself out. Blade Runner was always more impressive as an environment and lived-in habitat than the plot of the film itself, which was serviceable but underdeveloped. This makes it all the more interesting that Mountain of Smoke’s homage should borrow so overtly from the film, to the point where it could pose as part of the expanded universe.

But even for those going in blind, with no knowledge of the source material, one is greeted by a left-of-centre piece of sludge metal that is not afraid to mix genre and mood together whilst avoiding ham fisted conceptualisations or a desperation for experimental credentials.

Originally published at Hate Meditations