"In the Future" by Black Mountain (2008)
Back in Black
In the three years since Stephen McBean and company released their self-titled near masterpiece debut, the five members that constitute Black Mountain have done anything but go on hiatus. McBean released a second record for his other geologically colored group Pink Mountaintops, co-vocalist Amber Webber and drummer Joshua Wells broke out as the Folksy duo Lightning Dust, keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt explored his Tangerine Dream inspired influences with his side project Sinoia Caves and even bassist Matt Camirand embarked on a side project of his own with the lo-fi inspired Blood Meridian.
While all of these side projects ranged from pretty decent to quite good, none really measure up to the power that these five individuals bring to Black Mountain. Their debut album was Black Sabbath meets Blue Cheer for a new generation and In the Future is happy to bring more of the same. Schmidt adds a new element here that seems to be channeling Rick Wright because a lot of In the Future has keyboard and organ bits seemingly inspired by mid-70's era Pink Floyd. Webber has more free reign here than she did three years ago as well and her Grace Slick style vocals on tracks such as the killer "Night Walks" are a nice companion to McBean's growl that's reminiscent of Kings of Leon's frontman Caleb Followill. The only knock I might mention on In the Future is that while the album does sound great, it just doesn't pack that tight punch that Black Mountain's debut did. The first album was lean, mean and was over before you knew what hit you. In the Future more often than not doesn't know when to say when and overstays its welcome on more than a few tracks, especially on the near 17-minute "Bright Lights." I won't say that In the Future suffers from the sophomore slump syndrome because it is better than that, but it still feels like a slight disappointment nevertheless.
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