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ALBUM REVIEW: Slow Wander – Red Mountains

Norwegian stoner/psych/prog rock hybrids RED MOUNTAINS have released their new studio album, Slow Wander. Since the release of their well-received debut Down With the Sun, RED MOUNTAINS spent a year perfecting their next full length record and are now ready to release it to the masses. We checked out Slow Wander to see how the band have utilised this time to develop and hone their sound.

RED MOUNTAINS waste no time in getting into the dirty stoner vibes with Home. Immediately, riffs from Jostein Wigenstad and Sverre Dalen accompanied by a slow drum beat by Simen Mathiassen follow Magnus’ powerful vocals that is gripping to the ear. A strong solo mid-track keeps your attention before returning to the same guitar pattern and strong, clean vocals, making the track a gripping opener for Slow Wander. Following Home is RED MOUNTAIN‘s strongest single off of the record Rat King. Significantly darker than previous efforts, Rat King shows a side of RED MOUNTAINS that is quite new, and is a very welcome change at that. While it may be a darker track instrumentally, moments in Magnus’ voice almost give off a triumphant vibe, making it an interesting listen during the chorus.

Endless Ocean then enters, which starts laid-back, psychedelic instrumental opening that lasts just the right length before Magnus Riise breaks through and the track simply shines. A soundscape that relaxes you to the core, it’s a perfectly written track that demonstrates the amount of time that RED MOUNTAINS took to write this record has payed off. Hints towards the likes of PINK FLOYD on the prog side show real musicianship and exquisite songwriting. Equal parts relaxing and chilling, it’s the sort of track you can imagine listening to on the coast on a summer evening as the sun begin to fade. Everything about Endless Ocean works beautifully within the record, which is somewhat unexpected in an album that also contains such crushing riffs and ferocity. The little sections that burst with more energy and power than others make the track avoid being too monotonous or dragging, and instead captivates you and pulls you in further until Stone reveals RED MOUNTAINS‘ other side. Strong sounds influenced by the likes of ELECTRIC WIZARD reveal RED MOUNTAINS‘ heavier side, and also some of Magnus and Jostein’s best work.

Every track on Slow Wander is incredibly different in its own way. Be it a whole new musical style, a slightly different atmosphere, or even a different pace, RED MOUNTAINS manage to make every song their own and memorable. It’s safe to say that this album doesn’t necessarily have a weak track to it, with the only criticism being that some sections of tracks may be a tad too long (however this is nit-picking).

Overall, Slow Wander is a crushing record. Blending calming, psychedelic instrumentals and gargantuan riffs is easy to either miss the mark with or drag on so much that it becomes tiring, however RED MOUNTAINS have nailed the balance of both worlds. In a mix of genres with new bands coming out left right and centre, RED MOUNTAINS are at the top of their game with Slow Wander, and certainly are a force to be reckoned with.

Rating: 9/10

Slow Wander - Red Mountains

Slow Wander is out now via All Good Clean Records.

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