Holy Mountain

Ancient Astronauts

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AllMusic Review by

The first thing you need to know is the Holy Mountain are a heavy band. Sure, they may worship at the altar of the MC5, and there are rich elements of psychedelia and prog rock running through their sound, but on their second album, Ancient Astronauts, the Holy Mountain have dived headfirst into the heavy, and it sure sounds like it agrees with them. This album is full of thick, bludgeoning Sabbath-style riffage that lopes along with the speed and impact of a Brontosaurus, with the echoes of a few other first-generation heavy merchants also audible along the way (Blue Cheer's sledgehammer force, Led Zeppelin's agile leaps from one time signature to another, Deep Purple's keyboard infusions) as well as the touch of more recent stoner acts who built on similar influences (most notably Sleep and their apparent goal of out-Sabbathing Sabbath). On Ancient Astronauts, the Holy Mountain sound like the ultimate stoner band, but one less obsessed with reefer or magical spirits than catching a ride with some alien intelligence and tripping out on the most arcane knowledge of all. And if it indeed happened, it sounds like the Holy Mountain learned a few things while cruising the spaceways; guitarist Andy McGlone knows how to lace his solos with clever and subtle touches when he's not constructing bulletproof walls of sound, drummer Pete Flett is smart and chops-intensive enough to keep up with his sound and vision (and he can mimic John Bonham's thundering backbeat with impressive accuracy), and bassist Allen Stewart provides the foundation that keeps it all from flying apart. Music that hits this hard manages to sound quite imaginative at the same time, and Ancient Astronauts is, as they used to say, music for the mind and body -- maybe this isn't what you expect psychedelia to sound like, but the Holy Mountain are a genuine trip if there ever was such a thing.

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