Black Mountain - "Mothers of the Sun" (Singles Going Steady)

The one-time Polaris nominee Black Mountain returns with an epic offering, merging Massive Attack with Sabbath-heavy riffs.

Pryor Stroud: "Mothers of the Sun" projects the brazen ambition of young lovers who, sneaking into an outskirts-of-town graveyard to stargaze, imagine themselves inscribed indelibly in the sky as a constellation for all to see. It's ponderous, self-obsessed, pointed unreservedly heavenward. The organ drifts over you as a low-hanging mist, the faux-choral hiccups nudge your fight-or-flight impulse, and the synthesized flute stalks forward like a flashlight searching the dark; it all sounds as ornate and imposing as the wrought iron gate that let them into this graveyard in the first place. The psych-blues guitar growl is this gate smashed open: an act of devil-may-care vandalism, no worry, no second thought of repercussion. Black Mountain's lyrics -- "Mothers of the Sun / Your children / How they run" -- remain cryptic enough to seem like an occult incantation. Perhaps this is the track's secret, but no one's awake to notice: this is a ceremony encircled by chalk and flame, arranged by a boy and girl who, dissatisfied with merely watching the stars, have determined to join them. [7/10]

Stephen Wyatt: The one-time Polaris nominee Black Mountain returns with an epic offering, merging Massive Attack with Sabbath-heavy riffs on "Mothers of the Sun". Amber Webber's voice carries the load until nearly four minutes into this almost nine-minute track when their most monstrous riff to date explodes over the soft electronic dynamics. Leads like a silent prayer before the choir erupts consumed by the holy ghost, Black Mountain's congregation have waited five years to scream "Amen". [10/10]

Chris Ingalls: The killer guitar riff near the beginning of the song sets me up for disappointment. This is a truly schizophrenic piece of music, alternating between dark, vocal-based indie goth that does little for me and an impressive Black Sabbath impersonation that features what appears to be a great lost Tony Iommi riff. If there’s an instrumental mix out there somewhere, sign me up. Meanwhile, the video’s going to give me nightmares. [6/10]

Morgan Y. Evans: Black Mountain's first album was perfect and their third had one of the best record covers ever. Always on point with music and style points. Appalachian Metal like Bask, USX or Irata aside, few bands pull off what Black Mountain always manage without seeming like the most pandering of hipsters. How many hard rock and metal bands could have a side project as legit as Lightning Dust in tone? This band straddle the headspace between deep forest indie rock fairyland hideaway music and Sabbath glory better than pretty much anyone. I hope more real metal heads start to embrace them, despite the mellower moments. In the current, less genre constrained scene that includes Marissa Nadler doing awesome, ethereal Danzig covers, hopefully Black Mountain's biggest peak has finally arrived. [8/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Just like the RJD2 song, this gave me a lot of false expectations. The looped, choppy vocal that gave way to a killer guitar riff was a great way to start the track, but all of that raw power and potential fades away for a quiet, disinterested verse that features no guitar whatsoever. Towards the latter end of the song, the riff reappeared, but there wasn't anything else. There wasn't even a simple guitar solo or screaming vocal at all to slap the listener into attention. This tune suffers from overindulgence mainly. If the song wasn't trying to be the length of "Stairway to Heaven" (a song that justified its length with its slow-burning melodic guitar solos and vocals), it would be good. The band wants to make a statement, but have nothing of note to say, leaving "Mothers of the Sun" hollow at its core. [4/10]

Chad Miller: Painfully hard to get through the full eight minutes. The main melody and guitar riff are hardly noteworthy on any level, and they're especially bad when it's stretched out to this extent. [2/10]

Black Mountain's new album IV releases April 1st via Jagjaguwar.

SCORE: 6.16

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