Black Mountain Destroyer
Published May 22, 2019First gear, change is inevitable. Founding drummer Joshua Wells and singer Amber Webber left Black Mountain after the return to form that was 2016's IV — this after much of the band's gear was stolen while on tour in Sweden. What would have been death for many bands instead became a rebirth.
Second gear, ramping up. Opening up his home studio in Los Angeles, singer/guitarist Stephen McBean slashed together old demos and riff ideas with the help of his many friends. Rachel Fannan (Sleepy Sun), Adam Bulgasem (Dommengang), Kliph Scurlock (Flaming Lips), Kid Millions (Oneida), and returning bassist Arjan Miranda are but a handful of the freaks that dropped by to leave ideas and inspiration on tape. When Jeremy Schmidt started putting together his synth parts, it became clear that Black Mountain must rise again.
Third gear, adrenaline spikes. In his late 40s, McBean finally earned his driver's license. The freedom and anxiety of this event profoundly affected the creation of Destroyer. The fifth Black Mountain album is their most driving album yet, literally. It was edited on the road, directly influenced by the feeling of being behind the wheel. Of the 22 tracks recorded, the eight that made it are as propulsive as you can get, hard-edged cerebral space trucking. Handing the mixes over to producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen), who previously worked on 2008's In the Future, the final choices were made.
Fourth gear, hitting the redline. The so-called 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car is little more than a wonderful dream, but it sounds like something that should have existed. Imagine a ridiculous Ed "Big Daddy" Roth creation with jutting fins, go-faster stripes, massive back tires scorching smoke, a triple-intake blower erupting through the hood, and an oversized eight-ball shifter sticking through the roof where some maniacal speed mutant tweaks with his tongue flapping in the breeze, blistering down the highway towards a knife fight between hair metal, punk and stoner rock. That is the feeling this album evokes. (Dine Alone)