New Music Monday: Mount Salem

Posted: February 3, 2014 in Metalhammer
Tags: , ,

Mount Salem’s droning, driving doom will cast its spell on you…

As 2014 makes itself comfortable, it’s easy to wonder where the endless menagerie of sounds metal has evolved towards will find themselves over the coming months. Difficult though that may be to predict, one thing is for sure; the sound of the founding fathers of metal will never be too far away. “The first band that comes into our minds is always Black Sabbath,” says Emily Kopplin, vocalist and organist in eerie, Chicago-based doomsters, Mount Salem. “They are just such a huge influence on us. Even if you forget the power of the music, they still have this huge following and this magic around them. It’s insane.”

Though Mount Salem aren’t the first, and they won’t be the last, to reach that conclusion, what they might be are the best at channelling those influences you’ll have heard in some while. Debut album Endless is an absolute monolith of a record, combining the sludgy, droning guitars of Iommi’s finest vintage with Emily’s shimmering vocals and epic Jon Lord-style organ rushes. It’s retro, yes, but sounds too exciting to be dismissed as simple revisionism.

“We are influenced by that music, Cream and Iron Butterfly, of course,” Emily says. “But we also have our own personalities that we bring to the table. Kyle [Morrison, guitars] is really into the blues and Mark [Hewlett,bass] is much more into really heavy stuff, and I think you can hear both in the sound of their instruments. Writing the album was all pretty natural a process, the lyrics wrote themselves. I just had to listen to them jamming and I heard this really evil, heavy, dark music…it all poured out of me.”

For whatever reason, and however it came about, there has certainly been a resurgence of this strain of music over the last few years; a scene that would now welcome Mount Salem rather than see them as an oddity is something Emily feels is definitely happening.

“When we started, we just wanted to play shows for our friends,” she explains. “Now, though, we done shows with bands like Cadaver and The Sword and we’ve seen the success they’ve had and it makes us want to follow in their footsteps. It’s just great that there are young people that still want to listen to this timeless strain of 70s metal. We’re constantly amazed by it, but we look at pictures of Sabbath and the shows they do and think, ‘Hmm, maybe one day’. Of course we’d like to fill an arena!”

Classic metal obviously isn’t going anywhere. Mount Salem might be here for a while too.

Endless is out March 4 via Metal Blade

Interview by Stephen Hill

from Metal Hammer
via Merlin


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