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Viking's Choice: Witch Mountain, 'Psycho Animundi'

Witch Mountain.
Witch Mountain.

For a band that went into hiding for a decade, Witch Mountain sure has made up for lost time. They're "just old fogies that never gave up," drummer Nate Carson told me in 2011 as the Portland, Ore.-based doom metal band prepared to release South of Salem, an album that ended up on my year-end list. One album and two singles later, Witch Mountain is back again with its third LP, Mobile of Angels. Here's a premiere of the leadoff track, "Psycho Animundi."

If you've spent any time with Witch Mountain, "Psycho Animundi" will sound familiar at first: a slow and fuzzy riff, a steady and musical rhythm section and Uta Plotkin's soulful vocals. It's what's worked for the band, so why change anything? But Rob Wrong's now fully embraced the heavy blues haunting his guitar playing all along. He's tapping into darker tones and weight-of-the-world solos.

Plotkin also continues to develop as a singer, most clearly at 6:24 when the low end bows out and "Psycho Animundi" becomes a dream-like Fairport Convention song. It's just one of a few melodic surprises throughout Mobile of Angels, a doom metal record that takes chances without abandoning the call of the riff.

Mobile of Angels comes out Sept. 30 on Profound Lore Records.

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