Witch Mountain - Mobile of Angels
Profound Lore Records
5 songs (38:36)
Release year: 2014
Witch Mountain, Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Charles
This is the last album from Witch Mountain in its current form, because shortly after its release their singer, Uta Plotkin, announced she was leaving the band. This is a shame because her voice has been such a distinctive part of their sound since South of Salem, during which time they became my (and probably a lot of other people’s) favourite doom bands. Nonetheless it is hard to get too sad about; both parties will probably continue with different projects, leaving us with three unimpeachable doom metal albums as a legacy of the collaboration. A lot of the reviews I’ve read for Mobile of Angels put it down as their best so far- and the (quite threatening) cover seems to announce that as the intention. I don't know; personally I still prefer Cauldron of the Wild from 2012, but it seems like splitting hairs to arbitrate too closely. It’s all good, right?

Actually, forget ‘good’; first track Psycho Animundiis basically flawless. It is so simple and repetitive that you have to be incredibly confident to make it work: an (almost) one note stoner riff, played just at the right tempo. If it were any slower it would be too sluggish, any faster and the heaviness would be lost. It gets slowly more distorted and abrasive as it progresses, twice dropping entirely into silence before piling back down again, the second time re-announced by a cymbal TING which is actually my favourite half-second of the album. Aside from this, there is further evidence of Witch Mountain’s growing flair for bluesy, gloom-laden ballads: see closing track The Shape Truth Takes or Sour the Hymn. The former, in particular, has a really grungy and downbeat atmosphere, while the latter has quite a complex melody that it takes a few listens to click with. Actually these songs between them take up almost half the running time, making this a more slow-burning album than its predecessors, on which the more flowing stoner blues of Can’t Settle would have fit more seamlessly (albeit with its sudden doom-death interlude).

So pretty impressive, but why did I say I preferred Cauldron of the Wild? Well, Mobile of Angels is a bit shorter- obviously not in itself a problem, but in my opinion it lacks some of the darkness and depth the band reached on its predecessor. The latter was maybe more adventurous: see the weirdly operatic grind of Beekeeper, for example, or the sinister, almost gothic Aurelia. The approach here is more stripped-down, and there would inevitably be a trade-off with the amount of ideas the band could throw in.

Killing Songs :
Psycho Animundi, The Shape that Truth Takes
Charles quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Witch Mountain that we have reviewed:
Witch Mountain - Cauldron of the Wild reviewed by Charles and quoted 92 / 100
Witch Mountain - South of Salem reviewed by Jake and quoted 90 / 100
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