Black Mountain

Destroyer

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The Canadian heavy-psych group's fifth studio long-player and the follow-up to 2016's IV, Destroyer is Black Mountain's tightest, gnarliest, and least sprawling outing to date. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, the eight-track set commences with the assured "Future Shade," a guitarmony-heavy nitro-burning dragster of a jam that channels British Steel-era Judas Priest by way of Fu Manchu. Featuring a re-tooled lineup that introduces Rachel Fannan of Sleepy Sun and a trio of seasoned kit men (Adam Bulgasem [Dommengang, Soft Kill], Kliph Scurlock [Flaming Lips], and Kid Millions [Oneida]), Destroyer lives up to its moniker by using muscly classic rock and trashy '80s metal for a lodestar -- the name is a reference to the single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer. "Horns Arising" goes all in on Sabbathy doom, with beefy guitar leads duking it out with snaky synth lines and plenty of spacy vocoder -- there's even an extended, finger-picked acoustic bit reminiscent of "The Writ" from Sabotage. Elsewhere, the dizzying "High Rise" makes great use of Stephen McBean and Rachel Fannan's voices -- their icy cool interplay evokes a stoner metal version of John Doe and Exene Cervenka -- and the snappy "Pretty Little Lazies" uses the framework of Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men" to craft a lethally sweet psych-pop confection. Produced with heft -- and a whole lot of flange -- by John Congleton, Destroyer is at its best when it leaves the noodling behind, which it does more often than not. Still, there is plenty here to savor for fans of lurid, bong hit-worthy sonic vistas -- the hypnotic closer "FD72" would've sounded superb ringing out from the roadhouse stage on Showtime's Twin Peaks revival -- but this time around, Black Mountain are out of the basement and out on the town looking for trouble.

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