[12 June 2014]
Mount Carmel rocks. That’s all you need to know.
You want details? Fine. The three-piece based out of Columbus, Ohio, plays a stripped-down, high-octane form of bluesy rock, as befits their inclusion on the excellent label, Alive Mastersounds. Vocalist Matthew Reed’s voice is gutsy and raw, his guitar playing thickly distorted and unadorned, while the rhythm section of brother Patrick Reed on bass and drummer James McCain bash out the jams with the best of them. Track number two on the album, “Back On It”, is a stone-cold classic, a masterpiece of crunching riffage whose three minutes fly by all too quickly – it could easily extend into a 10-minute jam (and in concert, let’s hope it does).
Other strong tracks crowd the album, like “One More Morning” with its crunchy guitar riff and its Cream-era Eric Clapton-esque vocals. “Whisper” then has an anthemic chorus and gritty, frenetic guitar line, while “Hangin On” offers some serious midtempo blues-sludge. Even the 98-second instrumental throwaway “Bridge to Nowhere” is stuffed full of Roy Buchanan-ish guitar squeals. Sure, not every track is a masterpiece, like “Swallow Me Up”, which has off-kilter rhythms that never quite click into place, but these interludes pass quickly, and it’s on to the next riff. Long live rawk, y’all.