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Witch Mountain: Mobile Of Angels

Blues-soaked doom siren bows out in style

The unexpected renaissance of this Portland-based quartet – whose early work as a trio circa 2001 was enjoyable if unexceptional stoner doom – can be fairly attributed to the addition of frontwoman Uta Plotkin.

Her smoky, soulful vocals have done much to make Witch Mountain’s slithering jam-room sludge stand out from the crowd, even in a genre that’s increasingly filled with woman-fronted pseudo-occult acts. Mobile Of Angels is also, alas, Uta’s final release with the band, and although her voice hasn’t always seemed the most natural match for the music, this is the most impressive and convincing fusion of the band’s meandering elephantine plod to the singer’s folky-bluesy ululations. There are shades of Sandy Denny and Kari from early Third And The Mortal to her sweet, lamenting harmonies, but there are also caustic growls and a sassy, conversational sneer in Can’t Settle, while riffs, structures and interplay are more memorable and satisfying too, the whole band rising to the challenge of what is their most definitive work.

Via Profound Lore

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.