mount-carmelWhether the label finds them or the bands are now lining up at the door proffering their latest recordings, matters not a zot. Alive Naturalsounds has firmly established itself as the Los Angeles-based home for America’s legion of early-to-mid ‘70s styled hard rock acts and Mount Carmel are its latest recruits.

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio - a semi-anonymous city (at least in my tiny mind) located smack bang in the amorphous place Americans call their Mid-West - Mount Carmel reeks of surging guitar riffs and thunderous backbeats. Think Free or a more nimble/less self important Led Zepp. They’re a power trio in the truest sense of the term and certainly nowhere near as anonymous as their cover art would have you believe.

Guitarist Matthew Reed has a bluesy voice that accommodates almost any taste and he’s adeptly in command of his fretboard. The rolling notes that drive “Whisper” will convince you of that latter fact. James McCain’s drumming sounds like he’s chasing Reed’s fluid guitar and melodic voice on the surging “Swallow Me Up” and the entire band summon up the funk on the instrumental “Bridge To Nowhere” with truckloads of conviction.

As you may have guessed, this is an album for the heavy blues guitar freaks. Dead Meadow fans also take note although the psychedlic tinges are missing.

Mount Carmel keep it hard and heavy but don't overplay their hand. The poignant “Will I” serves as the album change-of-pace and gives Reed a chance to serve up expressive licks. The vamping “Back On It” and heavyweight “Fear Me Know” re-visit familiar dinosaur rock boneyards with potent effect. “No Pot To Piss” tries to go the same place but misses the bus. 

“Get Pure” is the third album in as many years for Mount Carmel and shows it in its swaggering confidence. The music's of a time but also, in a way, now also timeless. It’s unclear what they put in the water out Ohio way but let’s hope the still doesn’t get shut down soon.


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