Goth Mountain | Retribution

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Rock: Psychedelic Avant Garde: Psychedelia Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Goth Mountain

A Rocket Trip to Your Inner Space Station. An Experimental Progrock Masterpiece! With roots in Classic Psychedelic Rock, the sound is updated with dreamin' and screamin' guitars, heavy bass, killer keyboards, jaw dropping lyrics that focus wandering minds
Genre: Rock: Psychedelic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Snakes
6:28 $0.99
2. Lazarus
3:55 $0.99
3. Smoke Signals
5:16 $0.99
4. Alabama Baby
4:36 $0.99
5. Retribution
4:00 $0.99
6. Coolie Dream
4:20 $0.99
7. Americana Rag
2:40 $0.99
8. Ghosts Of War
5:27 $0.99
9. Another May
4:25 $0.99
10. Synesthesia
5:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Goth Mountain is back with a vengeance in Retribution! A concept album with a different take on the so-called "American Dream." More experimental and cinematic than the debut album, Retribution invokes many genres of psychedelic music including alternative pop, blues, folk, black metal, reggae and rap wrapped up in the signature sixties acid rock style that Goth Mountain fans demand.

Retribution blasts off with Snakes, a slow-building and twisted hard rock tour-de-force. Lazarus, a cover song by the UK progrock band Porcupine Tree, follows up Snakes and prepares the listener for the next six songs with an American history focus. These six songs are the heart of the album and take a hard candid look at America's sordid past through a kaleidoscope lens.

The Americana trip begins with Smoke Signals, which includes the last recording of the Ho Chunk language from 1929. Jaspar Blowsnake of the Winnebago Tribe chants a poem fireside to a throbbing Goth Mountain beat. The story of the lost colony of Roanoke is invoked and the obvious possibility that Native Americans were the reason for the settlers "mysterious" disappearance.

Alabama Baby graphically tells the story of a recently freed African-American girl who seeks the "opportunities" of post-slavery America. Guest vocalist Jemima Jones soulfully wails along with Goth Mountain's W.J. McKay in a steamy sex story that is anything but romantic.

The title track Retribution re-creates a 19th Century family feud in an updated southern style folk rock song. Irish folk singers back up McKay, who references his own clan's historical 500 year feud with the Sutherlands in Cape Wrath, Scotland. The song suggests what might have happened in the American west had these two hillbilly families settled near each other. The song is really about letting go of the past and embracing the future . . . a bit ironic for the title track of an album that spans hundreds of years of American history!

Coolie Dream can only be described as an oriental reggae song. Sounds of the train station at Folsom, California in 1849 are re-created in this story of the plight of Chinese immigrants as they chased that ever-elusive "American Dream." Traditional Chinese folk music fades in and out in a psychedelic dub style.

Americana Rag includes early recordings of Al Jolson, Lum and Abner, and the Six Brown Brother's song "Smiles and Chuckles" with strange lyrics and vocals by W.J. McKay. The archival recordings came from the U.S. Library of Congress. The song reminds the listener of how much home entertainment has changed in less than a century by listening in on a typical early 20th Century American living room.

Ghosts of War is a tribute to our troops in Iraq. We all mourn for the thousands of young lives snuffed out overseas, but Ghosts of War is about those who return home to find out that their "American Dream" is really a nightmare. The George W. Bush speech was used without any permission whatsoever. This modern classic hard rock song is reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, who lived during another time of American conflict overseas. Special thanks to National Public Radio for the use of their broadcast. Ghosts of War is dedicated to our troops to whom we all owe an unpayable debt.

Another May breaks the listener out of the past and into the politics of a springtime romance . . . that erupts into a black metal anthem of hate. "Another May is the MOST metal song that I've ever heard!" is what Ryan Zweng of the Los Angeles supergroup Zweng said after hearing it at the Goth Mountain Studio. Ryan Zweng also assisted in the production and arrangement of this album.

This sweeping epic album climaxes with Synesthesia, arguably one of the most PSYCHEDELIC rock songs of all time. This is a classic rock song in the vein of Pink Floyd meets The Moody Blues with the sitar of Ravi Shankar with The Beatles. Synesthesia is a human mental condition that causes its victims to mix up sensory input. Synesthetes hear colors, see sounds, and feel light, all symptoms shared by people tripping on hallucinogenic drugs. But like taking drugs, the synesthetic condition isn't all fun and games. Themes of synesthesia run through the whole album, but this song is dedicated to the late Syd Barrett, Founder of Pink Floyd. After hearing the song, one might wonder if Syd Barrett himself was a synesthete.

"Goth Mountain is a band, a place, a studio, a retreat, a howl, a laugh, a lifestyle, a state of mind." W.J. McKay of Goth Mountain



to write a review

David Nelson Ostrosser

Cinematic synethesia on Goth Mountain
Goth Mountain - Retribution

I'm noticing a ton of Pink Floyd / Syd Barrett references in the bios and reviews of this artist, but I never really thought of that band when I first heard this album. I got a real San Francisco psychedelic vibe brought into the 21st Century. To be "Frank" about it, I thought of Freak Out, the Mothers of Inventions' first album. The menacing baritone vocals and the frenetic SG-tone guitar took me back to "Trouble Every Day" in some places.

This is ambitious stuff. Certainly the Pink Floyd comparisons are justified by the grandiose aural spectacle that Goth Mountain's instigator, W. J. McKay offers us on "Retribution". It's fearless, experimental, but always listenable.

The album opens with the ominous murmurs of "Snake", coming from the original perspective of a rattler that's snatched away by an eagle to be eaten by its nestlings. A good example of the originality that characterizes this CD.

"Lazarus" is a softer, more melodic number, with the vocal double-tracked an octave apart – a technique put to good use on quite a few of these songs. I could have done without the exagerated reverb on the voice, however.

The primitive ambience at the start of "Snake" returns for "Smoke Signals", interpolating what sound like actual historic recordings of Native Indian shamanic rites, along with flute samples and other evocative effects. It's not obvious to tell where the sentiments are coming from, but we are warned in the liner notes not to take the artist's commentary on the experiences of Native Americans, African Americans and Chinese labourers as "political incorrectness". The "point" of some of these montages is obviously the recurring theme of auditory-visual synethesia, which is alluded to first in the the line "I can hear your Smoke Signals in the fog".

"Alabama Baby" sounds like Frank Zappa, right from the vocals on down to the "indiscreet" lyrical content. A nice sleazy blues. There's still a real Americana aspect, even on this "bawdy" tune – Americana in the sense of a referencing incidents in American history from pre-human times all the way on up, as this album does. The real shining example of this chronicling of Americana is the title song, "Retribution". It's easily the most accessible and intriguing of an intriguing lot of songs. The story is that of a family feud begun in the old country (presumably somewhere in the British Isles) and carried over to the New World where the two families haplessly wind up as neighbors once again after immigrating. The rhythm is irresistible, the melody velcro and reminiscent of English folk-rock artists such as Al Stewart.

Sometimes, though, Goth Mountain is on the verge of over-reaching in their ambition of getting their fertile imagination on record. "Coolie Dreams" is another slice of Americana examining the tragic experiences of another ethnic group, the Chinese railroad workers in the 19th century. The idea of using the sounds of the hammers on the rails to construct a kind of reggae base for the biwas and oriental flutes lines nearly derails into chaos at some points, but is exhilarating in its inventiveness.

Goth Mountain fearlessly offers a pastiche of early 20th century archival recordings for the track "Americana Rag", some of which feature new lyrics sung by the band. "Ghosts of War" brings the chronology into current times with a droning, Floyd-like number giving a voice to a shell-shocked veteran of the Iraq conflict, much in the same way Vietnam vets were the subject of 1980s Americana music. It's reintegration, alienation... recalling a bit Neil Young's anti-war album a few years back in it's minor chord anger, but it's here where W.J. McKay's guitar has the most David Gilmour in it.

Just to lighten things up, we get a bit of a pedestrian love song interval at the start of "Another May", before that turns into more of an "anti-Valentine" with slashing guitar and nasty vocals. It's probably the only personal, relationship-based number on the disc.

The closer, "Synethesia", rivals the title tune as highlight of the album. This one almost seems too short. The psychedelic electric sitar stoner tones are complemented by soaring twin leads and dramatic, cinematic sound effects to produce an utterly satisfying track.

This is a very impressive and worthy album – not just for one or two listens, but as a long-lasting staple of any prog- or experimental rock fan's collection.

Syd Barrett

If I Had Been An American . . .
This album rocks me senseless! It's like my early albums done American style. Makes me glad to be British. The music is soft but with punch, kind of like the silk and brass buttons on the inside of my coffin. Listen if you dare!