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Although Mountain only had a few years of true artistic greatness, their impact on hard rock was impressive; April Wine, Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and Pat Travers were among the many hard rockers who were directly or indirectly influenced by Mountain's early-'70s recordings. Creatively, Mountain was never the same after the departure of Felix Pappalardi in 1972, and some rock historians have questioned whether or not lead singer/guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing should have continued to use the name Mountain in the '80s, '90s or 2000s -- that they should call themselves something like the "West/Laing Group" because without the late Pappalardi, they aren't really Mountain. Nonetheless, West and Laing still have their hardcore followers, who are the target audience of this 2004 release. Eruption, a double-CD live album, spotlights two post-Pappalardi versions of Mountain. The first unites West and Laing with bassist Mark Clarke (of Uriah Heap fame), and that lineup is heard on some New York club performances from 1985; the second lineup (West, Laing and bassist Richie Scarlet) is heard during a European tour of 2003. Of course, hearing Mountain in 1985 and 2003 isn't like hearing Pappalardi-era Mountain back in 1970 and 1971 -- the group is way past its prime, which isn't to say that Eruption is without merit. West and Laing are in decent form on old favorites like "Nantucket Sleighride" (which they perform in both 1985 and 2003), "Mississippi Queen" and "Never in My Life"." But here's the thing: Mountain was much more than decent back in their early-'70s heyday -- they were one of the most powerful and exciting hard rock bands around. Casual listeners should stick to Mountain's classic Pappalardi-era output; Eruption is strictly for the group's most diehard fans.

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