Califiornia’ s Cold Blue Mountain, to me, are somewhat of an anomoly. When a band has numerous influences and straddle many sub genres often the result is somewhat confused and directionless. The second full length offering “Old Blood” combines doom/sludge with post-rock with harsh vocals similar to that of Parkway Drive, Architects, etc. I will admit I’m not inclined towards that vocal style, however, I’m sure that those who do favour it will find something in this album. When Cold Blue Mountain decide to put in a piano part or show more of their post-rock tendencies they do it whole heartedly.
A few things intruige me about this approach. The production is somewhere between polished and raw. There is no over effected anything. The music can range from sparse to all encompassing. Even though Brandon Squyres’ vocals initially put me off it is very hard to imagine the music without them after a few listens. After reading that the album is about “a group of people who’s homeland was taken over by an opposing force and most of the inhabitants have grown complacent” his tortured screams reflect this in a powerful way.
Furthermore it made me listen to the music more in depth. Opening track Seed of Dissent becomes more powerful the more I listen to it. And as I mentioned in a previous review the intro section of this track lends its self to the feeling and atmosphere of the rest of the album, which is most important. The raw and perfectly placed accents of Daniel Taylor’s drumming is fully complimented by the guitars of Will Mc Gahan and Sesar Sanchez who, even though not virtuositic, capture the vibe of the entire album which is far more difficult. The bottom end glue to all of this is Adrian Hammons whose tone is perfectly placed between the chaos surrounding him throughout ‘the 40 or so minutes of “Old Blood” with purpose and intent. trying to fully encapsulate what you’re going to hear on the album is not easy and ,if i’m honest, doesn’t do it justice. Also it’s not something you can listen to once and decide if you like it. Cold Blue Mountain have something going on and it’s only a matter of time before everybody realises it. Whether you like them or not. Even I’m not sure yet…..