Review: Lord Mountain ‘The Oath’
Lord Mountain is a doom metal band that formed in Santa Rosa, California back in 2014, releasing their first EP two years later. Now, on January 20th, 2023, they are finally releasing their first full-length effort, an album of riff-filled goodness that they have named, The Oath. Made up of a quartet of musicians, with Jesse Swanson on vocals and guitar, bassist Andy Chism, drummer Pat Moore, and guitarist Sean Serano, these guys have worked together to create music that throws in elements of traditional doom, heavy metal, heavy rock and more.
The Oath tips its hat to many of the bands within those genres, including Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Pagan Altar, Iron Maiden, as well as many others. Their Bandcamp profile also says, ‘Filled with perilous adventure and somber laments, The Oath is a quest-like experience more than it is a collection of songs. Jesse Swanson, the lead singer and songwriter, casts hallucinations of soaring towers and bottomless chasms, all for us to explore with sword in hand’.
If that all sounds like the kind of listening experience that you’re after, then keep reading to find out about a few of the best tracks from this immense slab of doom.
The opener, Well Of Fates, is a track that’s perfectly suited to be the first thing we hear on The Oath. That first riff has an old-school Metallica vibe, just not as fast as that iconic band, that slides into a more doom oriented sound when the verse begins, which is even stronger during the chorus sections, whose lyrics I positively love, ‘And by the fates, we live and die, painting a pathway to the grave. And by the sword, we live and die, that’s the path you cannot change’. Following the second chorus is a fantastic lead, which sounds as if it’s broken up into two sections, with each being played by a different guitarist. The two mix together perfectly and help to end the song on a strong note.
The third song, Beyond The Frozen Sea, is just under a minute of delay driven, non-distorted guitar goodness. It almost feels as if it serves as an intro to The Last Crossing, but it stands on its own just as well, which makes me think that it’s just an instrumental interlude, like Tony Iommi used on Black Sabbath’s Master Of Reality album.
The Oath is a fantastic album to add to the doom metal genre…
Chasm Of Time is reminiscent of Iron Maiden going doom but has just as strong a Judas Priest vibe in the riff department. This is another track where the chorus lyrics really stick out to me, not just for the lyrics, but the way they’re performed as well, ‘Into the darkness, your world left behind, forever lost in the chasm of time’.
I’m not a Dungeons and Dragons player but feel that this would be a perfect scenario for that game, and by that I mean the song as a whole, not just the chorus. As with Well Of Fates, the guitar solos are put together quite well. The first utilizes a really cool dual harmony thing that should bring up that Priest and Maiden comparison, but the rest of them are just pure 70s/80s metal lead playing.
Closing out the record is the title track, The Oath. The intro riff has a Black Sabbath meets Pentagram feel that ends up resting more on the Sabbath end of things as it moves forward. The lyrics tell the story of wartime bravery in the face of death itself. I rarely pay this much attention to lyrical content in a review, so my bringing them up this much should show you how good they are throughout the album. Mix that with the way Swanson performs them, and you have a winning combination.
The leads are, as per the others on this record, unquestionably impressive. The phrasing, execution, and obvious nods to the 70s/80s add up to total excellence in my humble opinion.
The Oath is a fantastic album to add to the doom metal genre. Lord Mountain‘s use of old school writing, lyrical storytelling, and stellar lead guitar playing push it over the top, particularly in a month that has already seen a number of great albums released. So, like always, I urge all fans of heavy music to give ear to this album, it’s worth the small chunk of time that it will take to do so. Enjoy!!!!!
Label: King Volume Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Scribed by: Tom Hanno