Mount Salem: Endless

Female-fronted stoner quartet debut in high style

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In existence for less than two years, sharing stages with Weedeater, Bongripper and every other band who allude to heroic consumption of the chronic and making no bones about their influences – Black Sabbath and Pentagram – Chicago’s Mount Salem aren’t too ambiguous about the direction in which they are headed.

Yet what sets their stoner-psych doom apart from the hairy hordes is vocalist/organist Emily Kopplin. The atmospheric howl she unleashes throughout Endless provides a much-needed counterpoint to the righteous musical stink kicked up by the band of bandana-wearing bearded dudes around her.

Highlights come in the shape of the atmospheric lounge lizard piece Mescaline and the crushing companion song Mescaline II, whose bottom end will blur speakers. The stabbing snippets of organ also lend extra weight to songs such as album closer The End, a tune as dramatic and portentous as The Doors song of the same name.

Stacked up, the eight songs on Mount Salem’s debut full-length make for a fairly heady ride whose fugue-like state should rightfully leave you dry-mouthed, confused and surrounded by empty junk food wrappers.