By David Fletcher for En La Calle On The Street
Set to be released in 24 hours to this date comes the long-awaited covers album Replicated from Dallas sludge metal band Mountain of Smoke. Last week marked the release of their widely-acclaimed 2019 album featuring Kyle Shutt of The Sword Future Sins on vinyl through Seeing Red Records. If that wasn’t enough, the band is also set to release their next full-length album Imprinted sometime early next year.
“When the pandemic hit,” pedal steel guitar player, Alex Johnson said. “We probably took the first couple of months off. We were all just sitting at home and then started kicking around more and more ideas.”
To get things going when the band met for their first rehearsal, they decided that they wanted to play a cover of “Breathe” the 1996 breakthrough track by English electric rock band The Prodigy. Then they decided to do three covers with each member bringing one song to the table. Then they just couldn’t stop. The ten all new covers will be available on the groups Bandcamp site at https://mountainofsmoke.bandcamp.com for fresh New Year’s tunes.
While “Breathe” was not too much of a stretch for the band who has been mixing heavy riffs with electronic samples since its beginnings as a two-piece outfit comprised of Brooks Martin on bass and vocals and PJ Costigan on drums.
“We actually recorded that one first…[before] we really figured out exactly the theme,” Johnson said. “Once I started working on it in post, I was like, ‘No, dude, fuck it. We’ll just try to make it close to the original.’”
“Once we’ve done that, we were like, ‘Okay, now we need to pick ones that we can completely change,’” Johnson added.
Since the groups inception change has been what the band has been all about since realizing their intended sound on 2018’s Gods of Biomechanics. Since then, the band has been solely focused on where they can take their sound next.
“The band has just kind of started forming into a whole other thing that I couldn’t even really imagine at the time,” Costigan says. “Now, it’s just more about experimenting with different sounds and styles. It’s been really a pleasure and really enjoyable for me.”
The groups collection of songs set to be released in the next 24 hours to this date gives an experimental rock emphasis.
Fans will surely be surprised to see covers on this album from the likes of Duran Duran’s “Chauffer” and Enya’s “Only Time,” which features Dallas artist Lorelei K on vocals. Perhaps the most surprising cover on the album is the shockingly reserved rendition of Deftones’ “My Own Summer (Shove It).”
Of course, that’s not all Mountain of Smoke has in store for us. Finding the opportunity to experiment with different sounds and styles for this covers album has found its way into the band’s 2021 release Imprinted.
“We’re doing this more on our own terms,” Martin says. “That’s why like there’s going to be changes and there’s going to be stuff people don’t like, and that’s fine. We want to leave people wondering what we’re going to do next.”
Rest assured, Mountain of Smoke is not flushing their format. Scary, angry, heavy music inspired by the films Blade Runner and Dark City are still on the menu, but the band is becoming more and more interested in how their brand of metal can evolve.
“In metal, or whatever the fuck it is, you become very type casted and pigeonholed through no choice of our own,” Martin says. “Everybody kind of has to just be like each other, and it’s very easy to, for the people that come to see us, to expect a certain thing. We don’t want to be part of that.”
Mountain of Smoke will also continue pushing the boundaries of metal working with Fort Worth rapper Tornupon a project that is currently being called Robo Crip. No details yet on that release either.
Moutain of Smoke on Bandcamps: https://mountainofsmoke.bandcamp.com
“We’re always working on something,” Martin assure us.