Regarding the cover art for Mountain Tamer's upcoming album Psychosis Ritual: I figured I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Its bright colors, assortment of trees, and some friendly bare-chested dudes led me to think that it's probably a nifty psychedelic romp. It says to me: "Hey, we're fun guys, and we love to rock." But the music?

The music says "You just took every drug, all at once. Good fucking luck."

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Mountain Tamer exists in the relatively uncharted world of psychedelic sludge, a space conceptually already wide enough to engulf entire other genres, so it's not too strange that it caught me completely off guard. For the most part, it's noisy, groovy rock, drenched in reverb and a lot more anger than the slow pace might imply, but when the album gets weird -- and it does, so very often -- things go off the rails.

Psychosis Ritual is powered by a tide of overwhelming momentum that ambushes and traps your mind within its swirling walls. The chorus of "Warlock" ("your mind is mine") rings rather true as the song spirals further into madness, the phrase gaining hypnotic potency with every repetition. And the last track "Black Noise" was clearly designed to eliminate any lingering consciousness before the album finishes spinning. Tight, punchy drum grooves provide synchronization to the dense layers of fuzz that sit above them -- basically, the only lifeline available, which snaps two-thirds into the song with a frantic scream punctuating a sudden stop: "He's coming for you!"

Psychosis Ritual doesn't sound how it looks, and that's just fine. This is heavy music at its most mind-altering, far beyond the normal fare and thus exceptional -- no album cover could hope to convey that anyway.

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Psychosis Ritual releases September 25th via Heavy Psych Sounds.


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