Published Sep 26, 2014Vocalist Uta Plotkin says she was leaving Witch Mountain two days after the release of their fourth full-length, Mobile of Angels, because after five years of incessant touring and recording she realized she was "feeling really uninspired." However, Mobile of Angels does not sound like a woman uninspired: it sounds like a woman on fire. The extreme vocal range on the album is unprecedented, and her bandmates sound similarly galvanized. Mobile of Angels is the best record in the Witch Mountain discography, their most doom-oriented offering, and one that places them in an even more curious position than did 2012's Cauldron of the Wild.
Mobile of Angels is commanding. It's easy to identify Plotkin's soulful voice as the main attraction; although similar to bands with iconic vocalists (think Eric Wagner in Trouble, Terry Jones of Pagan Altar and Jinx Dawson of Coven) the music is equal to the "sexier" centrefold. Here, Carson, Wrong and Thomas deliver crushing, then lumbering, then dynamic riffs and deliciously subtle rhythms. Each of the five songs feature numerous changes, flitting between understated and bluesy, darkly epic and ambient, and simply heavy. Lyrically, the seething frustration is palpable, and it is musically matched with texture and contrast.
Even when guitars and drums are removed from the equation, such as on "Mobile of Angels," the end result works. Despite starting somewhat laughably carnivalesque, the song overcomes when the organ, gong and vibraphone are coupled with Plotkin's spine-tingling croons. Although closing track "The Shape Truth Takes" finds her voice eerily similar to Evanescence vocalist/pianist Amy Lee at the onset, when combined with the plucky guitar and crystalline percussion, the effect is formidable rather than goofy.
Anger is a hellishly powerful instigator. On Mobile of Angels, its consequence is impressive, even if the future of Witch Mountain is unknown. (Profound Lore)