Florida’s Smoke Mountain have been around for a few years now but their debut full length, Queen Of Sin, was only just released back in March on the well respected Italian label Argonauta Records. With its 60s occult b-movie cover, band name and thick, stoner doom riffing, I think it’s a safe bet that we are looking at something fuzzed out, tripped out and rippling with the blues.
As that first, rumbling and heavily distorted riff weaves hypnotically from the speakers on the opener and title track, you can feel immediately that I was right in my safe bet. But it’s so much fuzzier and heavier than even I expected, and coupled with the eerie wail of vocalist Sarah Pitt it lends the song a particularly sinister vibe.
The soulful croon of The Master Serpent belies the weight of the hazy doom blues grooving underneath. Imagine Kyuss but darker and you’ve got the idea. There’s a glorious simplicity to it all; write an immensely catchy doom riff, coat in gallons of fuzz and then raise incantations to the stoned dead.
The soulful croon of The Master Serpent belies the weight of the hazy doom blues grooving underneath. Imagine Kyuss but darker and you’ve got the idea…
The driving Touch Of The Sun, the hazy melancholy of I Walk Alone and the insidiously memorable groove of Deathproof shows that Smoke Mountain don’t just write that same song over and over. Each one has its own identity, all the while keeping the album as a coherent structure.
Queen Of Sin definitely has a much more sombre tone than a lot of stoner doom bands, and I think this really helps it to stand out amongst its peers. This isn’t all just misery by any means, but Smoke Mountain do not shy away from incorporating a dash of Sabbathian gloom when it is called for.
The driving Devil Woman and grinding rumble of End Of Days bring this interesting and varied record to its close, and it has been an excellent journey.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson