Cold Blue Mountain
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Cold Blue Mountain

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"Louder Than Hell Interview"

Cold Blue Mountain prefers the descriptive tag “Healthy Metal.” Those two words do absolutely nothing to describe the band’s style, but reveal much of the band’s temperament. This temperament includes not taking things too seriously. We suppose that’s a healthy way to approach having a metal band. This ideology probably played heavily into the band doing what they want to do and not worrying if their art is popular with scene Nazis. Read on to discover more about this philosophy and how the band arrived at its eclectic sound.



LTH: What's going on with the band right now? What are you currently working on?

Brandon Squyres(Vocals): We just released our first self-titled full length on vinyl courtesy of Gogmagogical Records, and cassette courtesy of Vulture Print. We are about to go into the studio to record our next album over the summer.

Daniel Taylor (Drums): We're recording with Chris Keene, who mixed our self-titled record and has a studio here in Chico. I actually just recorded the first few drum tracks for the new record this last weekend, but we are probably going to take our time working on this one. Especially as our first record just recently was released on vinyl, a lot of people are still just now hearing those songs, so there's no rush.



LTH: People become musicians for a wide variety of reasons. What are the factors that originally inspired you to play music? Are you playing for the same reasons today as you were when you started? Why or why not?

Brandon: I started playing music because I was such a big fan of going to shows, and music in general, that I really just wanted to be a part of it all. I am definitely still playing for the same reasons. I love being a part of live music. I would play a show in town every single night if people would continue to come out. That’s one of the reason I love going on tour, I get to play every night. There’s just something special about performing a piece of music that you created or had a hand in creating. A live show is just so much more special than listening to something recorded.

Daniel: I started playing piano when I was a very young child; sort of the classic story of being barely old enough to put together a decent sentence but sitting at my grandmother's piano and being able to make something that sounded almost like music. That inspired my parents to get me piano lessons, and since then music has always been a big part of my life. I played piano until high school, when I decided (somewhat erroneously) that playing the guitar was way more likely to impress girls, and I started a really awful cover band with some other kids in my small town high school who were into the same sort of late-nineties angsty teen rock I was into: Silverchair, Weezer, Nirvana, Metallica. It wasn't until I got to college and started going to shows that I really discovered music that was outside of the mainstream. Since then I've always been in at least one band, usually more than one and of all different varieties: I played in sort of Orange County punk band, I played in a quite a few alt rock bands, I played in a wedding band. Like Brandon said, I'd play a show every night if I could manage it. And maybe one of these days I will.

So in a sense, I guess the original reason for playing music, that it was something that had an instinctual kind of ingrained appeal to me, still remains. Otherwise I doubt I would've spent the incalculable amount of time, money and energy that I have spent over the last couple of decades, and continue to spend now; playing it and being involved with it however I can.



LTH: Whether by using genres and styles or simply adjectives that let people know what your band is all about, please describe your music in your own words. In addition, can you recall a description someone has given about your music that is the most accurate?

Brandon: We get called everything from metal to sludge to post metal even doom. Most of our songs are in a major key and mid tempo to slow. We don’t ever get really fast. We mix pretty with heavy and depressing, but I don’t think we fit in to any one of the regular labels for Heavy music. So I would just use the adjective HEAVY.

Daniel: Someone once told me that we sounded like AC/DC slowed way down, which I thought was pretty awesome. We like to use the term "Healthy Metal" to describe what we do. Or at least I like to, I don't know about anyone else. It sort of encapsulates the fact that we're a heavy band, but one that doesn't take itself too seriously. We don't smudge sage before we play or wear all black or anything like that. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because we've played with bands who seriously fucking rule who do that, but it's just not our thing. We tend to have a good time, while still trying to sound as crushing as possible. More recently, I've taken to calling it "Yeti Me - Lounder Than Hell


"Louder Than Hell Interview"

Cold Blue Mountain prefers the descriptive tag “Healthy Metal.” Those two words do absolutely nothing to describe the band’s style, but reveal much of the band’s temperament. This temperament includes not taking things too seriously. We suppose that’s a healthy way to approach having a metal band. This ideology probably played heavily into the band doing what they want to do and not worrying if their art is popular with scene Nazis. Read on to discover more about this philosophy and how the band arrived at its eclectic sound.



LTH: What's going on with the band right now? What are you currently working on?

Brandon Squyres(Vocals): We just released our first self-titled full length on vinyl courtesy of Gogmagogical Records, and cassette courtesy of Vulture Print. We are about to go into the studio to record our next album over the summer.

Daniel Taylor (Drums): We're recording with Chris Keene, who mixed our self-titled record and has a studio here in Chico. I actually just recorded the first few drum tracks for the new record this last weekend, but we are probably going to take our time working on this one. Especially as our first record just recently was released on vinyl, a lot of people are still just now hearing those songs, so there's no rush.



LTH: People become musicians for a wide variety of reasons. What are the factors that originally inspired you to play music? Are you playing for the same reasons today as you were when you started? Why or why not?

Brandon: I started playing music because I was such a big fan of going to shows, and music in general, that I really just wanted to be a part of it all. I am definitely still playing for the same reasons. I love being a part of live music. I would play a show in town every single night if people would continue to come out. That’s one of the reason I love going on tour, I get to play every night. There’s just something special about performing a piece of music that you created or had a hand in creating. A live show is just so much more special than listening to something recorded.

Daniel: I started playing piano when I was a very young child; sort of the classic story of being barely old enough to put together a decent sentence but sitting at my grandmother's piano and being able to make something that sounded almost like music. That inspired my parents to get me piano lessons, and since then music has always been a big part of my life. I played piano until high school, when I decided (somewhat erroneously) that playing the guitar was way more likely to impress girls, and I started a really awful cover band with some other kids in my small town high school who were into the same sort of late-nineties angsty teen rock I was into: Silverchair, Weezer, Nirvana, Metallica. It wasn't until I got to college and started going to shows that I really discovered music that was outside of the mainstream. Since then I've always been in at least one band, usually more than one and of all different varieties: I played in sort of Orange County punk band, I played in a quite a few alt rock bands, I played in a wedding band. Like Brandon said, I'd play a show every night if I could manage it. And maybe one of these days I will.

So in a sense, I guess the original reason for playing music, that it was something that had an instinctual kind of ingrained appeal to me, still remains. Otherwise I doubt I would've spent the incalculable amount of time, money and energy that I have spent over the last couple of decades, and continue to spend now; playing it and being involved with it however I can.



LTH: Whether by using genres and styles or simply adjectives that let people know what your band is all about, please describe your music in your own words. In addition, can you recall a description someone has given about your music that is the most accurate?

Brandon: We get called everything from metal to sludge to post metal even doom. Most of our songs are in a major key and mid tempo to slow. We don’t ever get really fast. We mix pretty with heavy and depressing, but I don’t think we fit in to any one of the regular labels for Heavy music. So I would just use the adjective HEAVY.

Daniel: Someone once told me that we sounded like AC/DC slowed way down, which I thought was pretty awesome. We like to use the term "Healthy Metal" to describe what we do. Or at least I like to, I don't know about anyone else. It sort of encapsulates the fact that we're a heavy band, but one that doesn't take itself too seriously. We don't smudge sage before we play or wear all black or anything like that. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because we've played with bands who seriously fucking rule who do that, but it's just not our thing. We tend to have a good time, while still trying to sound as crushing as possible. More recently, I've taken to calling it "Yeti Me - Lounder Than Hell


"Temple of Perdition Review of Cold Blue Mountain Self-Titled"

This is a pretty cool mix of Sludge, HC, Post Metal and Doom sounds that this five piece band from Chico/CA/USA present with their full length self titled debut album (July 2012).
There’s an underlying sludge and post metal vibe throughout the entire album, but it easily draws in a lot of different stylistic ingredients in a way that all of them get their chance to take the lead and step back again.
So while in one song crushing sludge riffs dominate, the next one may sound more like a speedy HC song and yet another one offers downtempo doom riffs and then all changes into an ambient post metal atmosphere. The last song even is a piano melody totally different from all the others, but still with an ambient atmosphere.
These shifts of focus on the different elements, the many changes in tempo, dynamic and atmospheres create a great variety that surprises ever again. At times it is only a pinch of whatever ingredient that pushes the whole thing into another tone of atmosphere.
The melodies are simply captivating. They are breathtakingly beautiful and emotive without ever being pathetic or overdone, instead they leave room enough for all the other elements to blend in and everything goes together surprisingly well. The vocals are perfectly complementing the melodies as well as the sludge or doom riffs.
Here, great musicianship and creativity meet to bring us an album of an individual style, nine songs, tightly written and straight forward going, with a total running time of 30 short minutes and pure listening joy. Highly recommended. - Temple of Perdition


"Temple of Perdition Review of Cold Blue Mountain Self-Titled"

This is a pretty cool mix of Sludge, HC, Post Metal and Doom sounds that this five piece band from Chico/CA/USA present with their full length self titled debut album (July 2012).
There’s an underlying sludge and post metal vibe throughout the entire album, but it easily draws in a lot of different stylistic ingredients in a way that all of them get their chance to take the lead and step back again.
So while in one song crushing sludge riffs dominate, the next one may sound more like a speedy HC song and yet another one offers downtempo doom riffs and then all changes into an ambient post metal atmosphere. The last song even is a piano melody totally different from all the others, but still with an ambient atmosphere.
These shifts of focus on the different elements, the many changes in tempo, dynamic and atmospheres create a great variety that surprises ever again. At times it is only a pinch of whatever ingredient that pushes the whole thing into another tone of atmosphere.
The melodies are simply captivating. They are breathtakingly beautiful and emotive without ever being pathetic or overdone, instead they leave room enough for all the other elements to blend in and everything goes together surprisingly well. The vocals are perfectly complementing the melodies as well as the sludge or doom riffs.
Here, great musicianship and creativity meet to bring us an album of an individual style, nine songs, tightly written and straight forward going, with a total running time of 30 short minutes and pure listening joy. Highly recommended. - Temple of Perdition


"Temple of Perdition Review of Cold Blue Mountain Self-Titled"

This is a pretty cool mix of Sludge, HC, Post Metal and Doom sounds that this five piece band from Chico/CA/USA present with their full length self titled debut album (July 2012).
There’s an underlying sludge and post metal vibe throughout the entire album, but it easily draws in a lot of different stylistic ingredients in a way that all of them get their chance to take the lead and step back again.
So while in one song crushing sludge riffs dominate, the next one may sound more like a speedy HC song and yet another one offers downtempo doom riffs and then all changes into an ambient post metal atmosphere. The last song even is a piano melody totally different from all the others, but still with an ambient atmosphere.
These shifts of focus on the different elements, the many changes in tempo, dynamic and atmospheres create a great variety that surprises ever again. At times it is only a pinch of whatever ingredient that pushes the whole thing into another tone of atmosphere.
The melodies are simply captivating. They are breathtakingly beautiful and emotive without ever being pathetic or overdone, instead they leave room enough for all the other elements to blend in and everything goes together surprisingly well. The vocals are perfectly complementing the melodies as well as the sludge or doom riffs.
Here, great musicianship and creativity meet to bring us an album of an individual style, nine songs, tightly written and straight forward going, with a total running time of 30 short minutes and pure listening joy. Highly recommended. - Temple of Perdition


"Temple of Perdition Review of Cold Blue Mountain Self-Titled"

This is a pretty cool mix of Sludge, HC, Post Metal and Doom sounds that this five piece band from Chico/CA/USA present with their full length self titled debut album (July 2012).
There’s an underlying sludge and post metal vibe throughout the entire album, but it easily draws in a lot of different stylistic ingredients in a way that all of them get their chance to take the lead and step back again.
So while in one song crushing sludge riffs dominate, the next one may sound more like a speedy HC song and yet another one offers downtempo doom riffs and then all changes into an ambient post metal atmosphere. The last song even is a piano melody totally different from all the others, but still with an ambient atmosphere.
These shifts of focus on the different elements, the many changes in tempo, dynamic and atmospheres create a great variety that surprises ever again. At times it is only a pinch of whatever ingredient that pushes the whole thing into another tone of atmosphere.
The melodies are simply captivating. They are breathtakingly beautiful and emotive without ever being pathetic or overdone, instead they leave room enough for all the other elements to blend in and everything goes together surprisingly well. The vocals are perfectly complementing the melodies as well as the sludge or doom riffs.
Here, great musicianship and creativity meet to bring us an album of an individual style, nine songs, tightly written and straight forward going, with a total running time of 30 short minutes and pure listening joy. Highly recommended. - Temple of Perdition


"Core of Brutality Interview"

1.Can i get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Sesar - Back in 2008, I went to a show featuring several local bands and it was Cold Blue Mountain's first show. Back then, it was Daniel (drums), Will (guitar), and former bass player Zach Ahern. I remember people's jaws were down to the ground because no one knew what to expect. The songs were heavy, thoughtful, and seamlessly transitioned into one another at such mid tempo marching-like pace. It was hard to not bob your head to it. I immediately contacted them trying to slither my way into their band, but they were pretty set on doing the three piece. Cut to about 8 months later, Will drunkenly asks me to join the band to do vocals and second guitar, and thus the 2nd incarnation of the band was born. We played shows as quartet, and I did vocals on some shows, but I was reluctant to add vocals to what I thought were songs that could hold their own as instrumental songs. About a year later Brandon joins the band for vocals and samples, and again we changed. Immediately the framework and work ethic of the band was transformed by Brandon's motivated style, and we go into the studio right away in the summer of 2011. During that time Zach decided to move to Sacramento after we were done recording. This led us to seek out the services of Adrian Hammons, formerly of The Makai and Red Giant (both former bands of Brandon’s and mine). It's the current incarnation of band, and seems to be the one that has manifested and created more music at higher rate.

2. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Sesar - Brandon takes care of all the lyrical and vocal content, from which he had to derive ideas from his own interpretation, since there wasn't a unifying theme or a rhyme or reason to why the songs were titled that way. The new album will be a concept/themed album that I brought to Brandon as a way to keep things a little more fluid and organic for his lyrical content. Overall, I don't think that we set out to send a message per se, but we are serious about the music we play, how we play it, and how we create it. And Brandon's lyrics seem to reflect a very serious, yet thoughtful flow to them as a way to compliment the music.

Brandon – When I joined the band the song titles were given kind of indiscriminately as they were an instrumental band and the titles didn’t matter to the band all that much. I tried to find a somewhat unified theme and there seemed to be a very loose concept of despair and sorrow with a somewhat military tone I guess. Basically I took the names they had and wrote lyrics based on how I felt while listening to each song given what they had previously titled it. There are some songs I had to stretch for, but some I am very proud of lyric wise that I wouldn’t have chosen as a subject. I don’t really have a message to send, I like to tell stories and through music I’ve been given a great outlet for it. The new album is a story. I had been talking to the guys since we started about doing a unified concept for the next album and maybe a story that would go through the album. When we first started writing new material Sesar came to my house with a title that he wanted to use either for a song or album title. I liked his enthusiasm for it and we started brainstorming on a story. We lined out the idea behind 7 songs that would tell the story, and began writing. I don’t want to go into what the new one is going to be about but I feel it is a nice evolutionary step for us as a band and our writing process.



3. How have the gigs you guys been doing been?

Adrian - Mostly pretty good. Even if there weren't a ton of people at a show, we seemed to be well received by them. Of course they haven't all been winners. A house show shut down by the cops, some meager turn outs here and there.

Sesar - We play in Chico at least once every two months, but sometimes more frequently depending if we owe favors to bands or just want to play. Since we've released the album we've done a week tour and couple of weekends so that we can help to push our going on bigger tours here in the U.S., and even in Europe, but only time will tell.

Brandon – We will definitely tour more in the near future. For the time being work schedules and other life requirements have taken precedent. For one thing our drummer is currently preparing to take the bar exam so he has a lot of studying this summer. I love playing music and other than being shut down early I have a great time at almost all our shows.

4. What equipment do you guys use?

Adrian - On bass I use an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro with the SVT 8x10 cab and a sovtek big muff pie pedal. My bass is a weird off market SX p-bass, which is one of loudest basses I have ever played with.

Sesar - Will plays a Godin through a Boss Digital Delay and Tuner into a Mesa Boogie Triple Rec into two 4X12 matching Mesa Boogie Cabs. I play throug - Core of Brutality


"Core of Brutality Interview"

1.Can i get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Sesar - Back in 2008, I went to a show featuring several local bands and it was Cold Blue Mountain's first show. Back then, it was Daniel (drums), Will (guitar), and former bass player Zach Ahern. I remember people's jaws were down to the ground because no one knew what to expect. The songs were heavy, thoughtful, and seamlessly transitioned into one another at such mid tempo marching-like pace. It was hard to not bob your head to it. I immediately contacted them trying to slither my way into their band, but they were pretty set on doing the three piece. Cut to about 8 months later, Will drunkenly asks me to join the band to do vocals and second guitar, and thus the 2nd incarnation of the band was born. We played shows as quartet, and I did vocals on some shows, but I was reluctant to add vocals to what I thought were songs that could hold their own as instrumental songs. About a year later Brandon joins the band for vocals and samples, and again we changed. Immediately the framework and work ethic of the band was transformed by Brandon's motivated style, and we go into the studio right away in the summer of 2011. During that time Zach decided to move to Sacramento after we were done recording. This led us to seek out the services of Adrian Hammons, formerly of The Makai and Red Giant (both former bands of Brandon’s and mine). It's the current incarnation of band, and seems to be the one that has manifested and created more music at higher rate.

2. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Sesar - Brandon takes care of all the lyrical and vocal content, from which he had to derive ideas from his own interpretation, since there wasn't a unifying theme or a rhyme or reason to why the songs were titled that way. The new album will be a concept/themed album that I brought to Brandon as a way to keep things a little more fluid and organic for his lyrical content. Overall, I don't think that we set out to send a message per se, but we are serious about the music we play, how we play it, and how we create it. And Brandon's lyrics seem to reflect a very serious, yet thoughtful flow to them as a way to compliment the music.

Brandon – When I joined the band the song titles were given kind of indiscriminately as they were an instrumental band and the titles didn’t matter to the band all that much. I tried to find a somewhat unified theme and there seemed to be a very loose concept of despair and sorrow with a somewhat military tone I guess. Basically I took the names they had and wrote lyrics based on how I felt while listening to each song given what they had previously titled it. There are some songs I had to stretch for, but some I am very proud of lyric wise that I wouldn’t have chosen as a subject. I don’t really have a message to send, I like to tell stories and through music I’ve been given a great outlet for it. The new album is a story. I had been talking to the guys since we started about doing a unified concept for the next album and maybe a story that would go through the album. When we first started writing new material Sesar came to my house with a title that he wanted to use either for a song or album title. I liked his enthusiasm for it and we started brainstorming on a story. We lined out the idea behind 7 songs that would tell the story, and began writing. I don’t want to go into what the new one is going to be about but I feel it is a nice evolutionary step for us as a band and our writing process.



3. How have the gigs you guys been doing been?

Adrian - Mostly pretty good. Even if there weren't a ton of people at a show, we seemed to be well received by them. Of course they haven't all been winners. A house show shut down by the cops, some meager turn outs here and there.

Sesar - We play in Chico at least once every two months, but sometimes more frequently depending if we owe favors to bands or just want to play. Since we've released the album we've done a week tour and couple of weekends so that we can help to push our going on bigger tours here in the U.S., and even in Europe, but only time will tell.

Brandon – We will definitely tour more in the near future. For the time being work schedules and other life requirements have taken precedent. For one thing our drummer is currently preparing to take the bar exam so he has a lot of studying this summer. I love playing music and other than being shut down early I have a great time at almost all our shows.

4. What equipment do you guys use?

Adrian - On bass I use an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro with the SVT 8x10 cab and a sovtek big muff pie pedal. My bass is a weird off market SX p-bass, which is one of loudest basses I have ever played with.

Sesar - Will plays a Godin through a Boss Digital Delay and Tuner into a Mesa Boogie Triple Rec into two 4X12 matching Mesa Boogie Cabs. I play throug - Core of Brutality


"The Obelisk Band Profile"

Though it could’ve come just easily from the side of a can of cheapshit beer, the moniker Cold Blue Mountain nonetheless evokes a sense of something big, covered in snow and unconquerable. It’s as though the members of the NorCal fivesome were boozing it up while trying to think of a name for the band and had an epiphany moment. Whether or not that’s how it went down ultimately matters little when it comes to taking on their 2012 self-titled debut, released on Gogmagogical Records, because the impression you go into it carrying is the same either way. Expect largesse and bludgeonry and you’ve got at least a beginning understanding of where the Chico-based group are coming from, although that’s by no means the limits of what the lineup of screamer Brandon Squyres, guitarists Will McGahan and Sesar Sanchez, bassist Adrian Hammons and drummer Daniel Taylor have to offer.

Hammons and Squyres were formerly to be found in Seventh Rule Recordings hardcore-infused crushers The Makai, but Cold Blue Mountain are coming from somewhere much sludgier in terms of the overall base of influence. The self-titled, which comes on blue and white vinyl, on tape or in disembodied mp3s, begins with “Branch Davidian Compound,” and the oppressive tonality of the guitars is immediate. A dense recording by Scott Barwick at Origami Lounge in Chico gives a kind of claustrophobic feeling as Squyres switches between lower growls and higher-pitched screaming, gradually layering the two over a slowdown for extremity’s sake, but the low end is where the heaviness resides, and Taylor‘s drumming does a well in complementing. At 4:01, “Branch Davidian Compound” is the longest song on the album (immediate points), but it’s hardly a summary of everything Cold Blue Mountain get up to stylistically, as “Time Flies Like an Arrow” quickly shows with a brooding but tense guitar intro, hinting at not only post-metal ambience, but also some of the terra-worship that has become an essential part of the genre these last few years. They’re not country twanging by any stretch, and sure enough, the song takes off brutally around the halfway mark — the toms fill a break with a sound no less thick than any of the other tones presented — but it’s there underlying and it shows up again later in the piano of the finale, “MK Outro.”

Perhaps the most post-metallic of all in terms of its basic riff and structure is “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” which measures out a jagged rhythm in starts and stops for its verse progression and builds on them with post-rock noodling in a more open-feeling chorus, Squyres topping both with searing screams. There aren’t verses and chorus as such, but the parts fit together well one to the next, and lighter flourish in the guitar during a brief break stands as precursor to some of what’s to come on later cuts like “Lone Pine” and “Comatose,” though the subsequent “White North” does an even better job at that, making me wonder if perhaps multiple songwriters are at work in Cold Blue Mountain — the band’s interplay of the sonically dark and light being contrasting enough between tracks, despite the band having positioned songs well throughout. “White North” is short at 2:36, but though they don’t waste time in the material there or really anywhere else throughout the record, Cold Blue Mountain‘s tracks are in no way lacking presence, “MK Ultra” taking hold from “White North” with an ambient pulse that you could almost call psychedelic were it not so vehemently grounded. A build brings on more post-rock guitar and growling over a slow, nodding groove and a sudden switch to quiet noodling interplay between McGahan and Sanchez, soon to be accompanied as well by Squyres. The return to full-brunt is well announced, but still satisfies, and though “Dark Secret” tosses in some more upbeat metallized riffing in its midsection, the momentum of the songs is set by then.

That riffing in particular should stand out as something Cold Blue Mountain haven’t done before on the album when it arrives, and it’s a sequence that — though contrasted in the same song by a stretch of ambient echoing guitar and bass-driven groove — continues to be developed over the remainder of the album. “Dark Secret” also boasts one of Cold Blue Mountain‘s most satisfying payoffs; an undulating riff played out patiently and at a tempo so fitting its largesse as to border on the masterful. There are those who immediately shun screamed vocals. Off you go. I think they add to a track like “Dark Secret” a level of expression that clean singing couldn’t, and that, like everything else, a good scream has its place. Whether or not that place is over an upbeat, major-key bopper like “Lone Pine,” I don’t know, but it’s genuinely a take on Torche‘s style that I’ve yet to hear and for that alone I’m inclined to go with it. A slowdown offsets the initial bounce and once more Cold Blue Mountain‘s wall of riff nestles into a patient chug as Squyres meets it head on with nodul - The Obelisk


"The Obelisk Band Profile"

Though it could’ve come just easily from the side of a can of cheapshit beer, the moniker Cold Blue Mountain nonetheless evokes a sense of something big, covered in snow and unconquerable. It’s as though the members of the NorCal fivesome were boozing it up while trying to think of a name for the band and had an epiphany moment. Whether or not that’s how it went down ultimately matters little when it comes to taking on their 2012 self-titled debut, released on Gogmagogical Records, because the impression you go into it carrying is the same either way. Expect largesse and bludgeonry and you’ve got at least a beginning understanding of where the Chico-based group are coming from, although that’s by no means the limits of what the lineup of screamer Brandon Squyres, guitarists Will McGahan and Sesar Sanchez, bassist Adrian Hammons and drummer Daniel Taylor have to offer.

Hammons and Squyres were formerly to be found in Seventh Rule Recordings hardcore-infused crushers The Makai, but Cold Blue Mountain are coming from somewhere much sludgier in terms of the overall base of influence. The self-titled, which comes on blue and white vinyl, on tape or in disembodied mp3s, begins with “Branch Davidian Compound,” and the oppressive tonality of the guitars is immediate. A dense recording by Scott Barwick at Origami Lounge in Chico gives a kind of claustrophobic feeling as Squyres switches between lower growls and higher-pitched screaming, gradually layering the two over a slowdown for extremity’s sake, but the low end is where the heaviness resides, and Taylor‘s drumming does a well in complementing. At 4:01, “Branch Davidian Compound” is the longest song on the album (immediate points), but it’s hardly a summary of everything Cold Blue Mountain get up to stylistically, as “Time Flies Like an Arrow” quickly shows with a brooding but tense guitar intro, hinting at not only post-metal ambience, but also some of the terra-worship that has become an essential part of the genre these last few years. They’re not country twanging by any stretch, and sure enough, the song takes off brutally around the halfway mark — the toms fill a break with a sound no less thick than any of the other tones presented — but it’s there underlying and it shows up again later in the piano of the finale, “MK Outro.”

Perhaps the most post-metallic of all in terms of its basic riff and structure is “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” which measures out a jagged rhythm in starts and stops for its verse progression and builds on them with post-rock noodling in a more open-feeling chorus, Squyres topping both with searing screams. There aren’t verses and chorus as such, but the parts fit together well one to the next, and lighter flourish in the guitar during a brief break stands as precursor to some of what’s to come on later cuts like “Lone Pine” and “Comatose,” though the subsequent “White North” does an even better job at that, making me wonder if perhaps multiple songwriters are at work in Cold Blue Mountain — the band’s interplay of the sonically dark and light being contrasting enough between tracks, despite the band having positioned songs well throughout. “White North” is short at 2:36, but though they don’t waste time in the material there or really anywhere else throughout the record, Cold Blue Mountain‘s tracks are in no way lacking presence, “MK Ultra” taking hold from “White North” with an ambient pulse that you could almost call psychedelic were it not so vehemently grounded. A build brings on more post-rock guitar and growling over a slow, nodding groove and a sudden switch to quiet noodling interplay between McGahan and Sanchez, soon to be accompanied as well by Squyres. The return to full-brunt is well announced, but still satisfies, and though “Dark Secret” tosses in some more upbeat metallized riffing in its midsection, the momentum of the songs is set by then.

That riffing in particular should stand out as something Cold Blue Mountain haven’t done before on the album when it arrives, and it’s a sequence that — though contrasted in the same song by a stretch of ambient echoing guitar and bass-driven groove — continues to be developed over the remainder of the album. “Dark Secret” also boasts one of Cold Blue Mountain‘s most satisfying payoffs; an undulating riff played out patiently and at a tempo so fitting its largesse as to border on the masterful. There are those who immediately shun screamed vocals. Off you go. I think they add to a track like “Dark Secret” a level of expression that clean singing couldn’t, and that, like everything else, a good scream has its place. Whether or not that place is over an upbeat, major-key bopper like “Lone Pine,” I don’t know, but it’s genuinely a take on Torche‘s style that I’ve yet to hear and for that alone I’m inclined to go with it. A slowdown offsets the initial bounce and once more Cold Blue Mountain‘s wall of riff nestles into a patient chug as Squyres meets it head on with nodul - The Obelisk


"Sludgelord Review of Cold Blue Mountain Self-Titled"

Cold Blue Mountain is a Sludge Metal band from Chico, California, USA

The members are:

Daniel Taylor, Will McGahan, Sesar Sanchez, Brandon Squyres, Adrian Hammons

Cold Blue Mountain may sound like a hard-hitting Sludge Metal band from the first track from their excellent S/T debut album. Branch Davidian Compound is full of brutal heavy pounding Sludge Metal riffs with bleak vocals/lyrics to match.

However, appearances can be deceiving as Cold Blue Mountain actually add layers of Doom, Post-Metal and Stoner Metal through out the albums fast-paced 30 minute running time.

Branch Davidian Compound is just a rouse to get you into a false sense of security as Cold Blue Mountain toy with your perceptions of riffs as even though things are undeniably heavy from the start.

Time Flies Like An Arrow – follows the brutal heavy pounding stylings of Branch Davidian Compound. Hardcore-based Sludge Metal riffs with hard-to-understand at first vocals. Don’t go expecting the following tunes to follow this style of bleak based Sludge Metal as Cold Blue Mountain wisely start to experiment with their sound.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and White North see Cold Blue Mountain adding Post-Metal riffs to the party. As both tracks feature thumping bass lines and awesome drumming to prove that all the band are hugely talented. Now Cold Blue Mountain is starting to feel like a Post-Metal band with real substance.

MK Ultra - throws the listener another curve ball by adding beautiful Post-Rock ambient vibes as well. This is one the albums standout tracks as the song has a real sense of purpose to it. It is creepy, dark, heavy and very atmospheric as well. A brooding experience you have to listen for yourself.

You would think that the band would not change styles again. Right. Well. No you would be wrong as the band even add a Torche style riff to Lone Pine.

Cold Blue Mountain is a band who deserves your attention now. The album is a masterclass on how to blend different genres and moods to brilliant effect. The songs have the perfect balance of Sludge, Stoner, Doom and Post-Metal riffs blended together, which is a very hard thing to pull off. However, Cold Blue Mountain have succeeded on every level.

I loved every second of this brilliant album. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Just buy a copy when it is released on Vinyl via Gogmagogical Records on 19th April 2013 aka Record Store Day. You can buy it on Digital via BandCamp now.

Excellent and Highly Recommended. - The Sludgelord


"Sludgelord Review of Cold Blue Mountain Self-Titled"

Cold Blue Mountain is a Sludge Metal band from Chico, California, USA

The members are:

Daniel Taylor, Will McGahan, Sesar Sanchez, Brandon Squyres, Adrian Hammons

Cold Blue Mountain may sound like a hard-hitting Sludge Metal band from the first track from their excellent S/T debut album. Branch Davidian Compound is full of brutal heavy pounding Sludge Metal riffs with bleak vocals/lyrics to match.

However, appearances can be deceiving as Cold Blue Mountain actually add layers of Doom, Post-Metal and Stoner Metal through out the albums fast-paced 30 minute running time.

Branch Davidian Compound is just a rouse to get you into a false sense of security as Cold Blue Mountain toy with your perceptions of riffs as even though things are undeniably heavy from the start.

Time Flies Like An Arrow – follows the brutal heavy pounding stylings of Branch Davidian Compound. Hardcore-based Sludge Metal riffs with hard-to-understand at first vocals. Don’t go expecting the following tunes to follow this style of bleak based Sludge Metal as Cold Blue Mountain wisely start to experiment with their sound.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and White North see Cold Blue Mountain adding Post-Metal riffs to the party. As both tracks feature thumping bass lines and awesome drumming to prove that all the band are hugely talented. Now Cold Blue Mountain is starting to feel like a Post-Metal band with real substance.

MK Ultra - throws the listener another curve ball by adding beautiful Post-Rock ambient vibes as well. This is one the albums standout tracks as the song has a real sense of purpose to it. It is creepy, dark, heavy and very atmospheric as well. A brooding experience you have to listen for yourself.

You would think that the band would not change styles again. Right. Well. No you would be wrong as the band even add a Torche style riff to Lone Pine.

Cold Blue Mountain is a band who deserves your attention now. The album is a masterclass on how to blend different genres and moods to brilliant effect. The songs have the perfect balance of Sludge, Stoner, Doom and Post-Metal riffs blended together, which is a very hard thing to pull off. However, Cold Blue Mountain have succeeded on every level.

I loved every second of this brilliant album. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Just buy a copy when it is released on Vinyl via Gogmagogical Records on 19th April 2013 aka Record Store Day. You can buy it on Digital via BandCamp now.

Excellent and Highly Recommended. - The Sludgelord


"The Metal Advisor Interview with Cold Blue Mountain"

As an avid follower of Gogmagogical Records, I jumped on a chance to interview the latest addition to the label's roster, Cold Blue Mountain, and familiarize myself with the band's story. Despite being a relatively new act, they have enjoyed immense success with their recent vinyl release and already have a second full-length in the works behind closed doors. Let's take a look into the Cold Blue Mountain camp.

---

To kick things off, give me the nitty gritty on Cold Blue Mountain. What’s your story as a band?

Daniel: Back in late 2008 or so, our guitar player Will and his roommate at the time, our original bass player Zach, started writing some riffs and fucking around with an idea for sort of a heavy instrumental band. I had played in a band with Zach before so he called me, and we jammed, and the first day already had a couple of songs pretty much in the bag. We wrote a couple more, then went into a studio with our friend Chris Keene (who mixed our full-length and is recording and mixing our next record right now) and made a little demo CD, which is still floating around out there in the world; weirdly enough, it seems like it's really popular on Russian/Eastern European torrent sites. Anyway, that CD was entirely instrumental, but when we started playing live, people kept saying they could hear vocals totally ripping on it. I even had a buddy who recorded some vocals over it on his computer for kicks.

By that time we had added Sesar on second guitar. And we all sort of agreed that it would be awesome to add a singer, and Brandon was a dude who we all knew who was in bands in town, and he was pretty much an obvious fit. He joined up and we played a few shows and went in the studio to record the self-titled full-length. Right after that, Zach moved out of town, and we signed up Adrian, who had played bass in Brandon's former band, The Makai. Since then, we've just been playing around Chico and up and down the West Coast when we can and writing more songs, since some of the songs on the full length are 4+ years old now. There's even one or two riffs on there that we literally jammed on that very first practice, so we're pretty amped to get some new stuff going.
Who or what inspired you? Books, music, and poetry. Anything is fair game!
Daniel: I've always been a big reader. Books-wise, I'm sort of a morose, existential-angst kind of guy: Melville, Bukowski, Emerson, Thoreau and that lot. Likewise, musically, I've kind of always been a fan of mopey shit: from sappy mall-emo (most of which I'm too embarrassed to actually mention) to jazz and classical stuff, Rachmaninoff and Romantic/Classical-era composers (try making a Schubert or Mendelssohn station on Pandora sometime if you want to make life feel a little more cinematic) to, what I kind of use as a reference for this band, post-rock/atmospheric stuff like Pelican, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky--stuff like that.

Metal-wise, I was always more of a '90s ripper kind of guy: Pantera, Sepultura, old Metallica. The closest reference I really had when I was younger to what we're playing now was maybe Down or old Soundgarden. But in recent years I've gotten way more into the doom sludge type heavy stuff, mainly through playing with bands and being in bands with dudes who turned me onto stuff: bands like Yob and Lightbearer. I try to rip them off as liberally as I can manage. Haha.
Gogmagogical Records recently released your self-titled debut on vinyl as well. How did that work out? Were there any snags along the way, or was it smooth sailing?
Brandon: Mark at Gogmagogical was extremely easy to work with. He was so generous and agreeable. I was really taken back by it. Never having met the guy before and working almost completely through email you couldn’t have asked for a better person to release a record for you. We are really appreciative of all of his work.
Any specific reason you wanted vinyl to complement the existing cassette release of your debut?
Brandon: Vinyl is what I think most bands want. There’s something so special about it. It’s something that you can’t reproduce at home like cd’s or even tapes to some degree. Having the bigger artwork and really the whole feeling of a record just is so much better than any other format. Not to mention how pretty our color ones turned out, I was really excited when we saw the final product.
Personally, I think the cassette can be a pain-in-the-ass. Would you agree?
Brandon: No, I actually don’t. It really easy to work with, and I think a lot of our fans still appreciate the cassette, as they seem to still have cassette players in their vehicles. It's also something from a lot of their childhoods that some people miss. If nothing else it’s a nice case for the download card.
What makes vinyl special for you (or any physical release for that matter)?
Daniel: For me, I've been in a ton of bands over the years, some more - The Metal Advisor


"The Metal Advisor Interview with Cold Blue Mountain"

As an avid follower of Gogmagogical Records, I jumped on a chance to interview the latest addition to the label's roster, Cold Blue Mountain, and familiarize myself with the band's story. Despite being a relatively new act, they have enjoyed immense success with their recent vinyl release and already have a second full-length in the works behind closed doors. Let's take a look into the Cold Blue Mountain camp.

---

To kick things off, give me the nitty gritty on Cold Blue Mountain. What’s your story as a band?

Daniel: Back in late 2008 or so, our guitar player Will and his roommate at the time, our original bass player Zach, started writing some riffs and fucking around with an idea for sort of a heavy instrumental band. I had played in a band with Zach before so he called me, and we jammed, and the first day already had a couple of songs pretty much in the bag. We wrote a couple more, then went into a studio with our friend Chris Keene (who mixed our full-length and is recording and mixing our next record right now) and made a little demo CD, which is still floating around out there in the world; weirdly enough, it seems like it's really popular on Russian/Eastern European torrent sites. Anyway, that CD was entirely instrumental, but when we started playing live, people kept saying they could hear vocals totally ripping on it. I even had a buddy who recorded some vocals over it on his computer for kicks.

By that time we had added Sesar on second guitar. And we all sort of agreed that it would be awesome to add a singer, and Brandon was a dude who we all knew who was in bands in town, and he was pretty much an obvious fit. He joined up and we played a few shows and went in the studio to record the self-titled full-length. Right after that, Zach moved out of town, and we signed up Adrian, who had played bass in Brandon's former band, The Makai. Since then, we've just been playing around Chico and up and down the West Coast when we can and writing more songs, since some of the songs on the full length are 4+ years old now. There's even one or two riffs on there that we literally jammed on that very first practice, so we're pretty amped to get some new stuff going.
Who or what inspired you? Books, music, and poetry. Anything is fair game!
Daniel: I've always been a big reader. Books-wise, I'm sort of a morose, existential-angst kind of guy: Melville, Bukowski, Emerson, Thoreau and that lot. Likewise, musically, I've kind of always been a fan of mopey shit: from sappy mall-emo (most of which I'm too embarrassed to actually mention) to jazz and classical stuff, Rachmaninoff and Romantic/Classical-era composers (try making a Schubert or Mendelssohn station on Pandora sometime if you want to make life feel a little more cinematic) to, what I kind of use as a reference for this band, post-rock/atmospheric stuff like Pelican, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky--stuff like that.

Metal-wise, I was always more of a '90s ripper kind of guy: Pantera, Sepultura, old Metallica. The closest reference I really had when I was younger to what we're playing now was maybe Down or old Soundgarden. But in recent years I've gotten way more into the doom sludge type heavy stuff, mainly through playing with bands and being in bands with dudes who turned me onto stuff: bands like Yob and Lightbearer. I try to rip them off as liberally as I can manage. Haha.
Gogmagogical Records recently released your self-titled debut on vinyl as well. How did that work out? Were there any snags along the way, or was it smooth sailing?
Brandon: Mark at Gogmagogical was extremely easy to work with. He was so generous and agreeable. I was really taken back by it. Never having met the guy before and working almost completely through email you couldn’t have asked for a better person to release a record for you. We are really appreciative of all of his work.
Any specific reason you wanted vinyl to complement the existing cassette release of your debut?
Brandon: Vinyl is what I think most bands want. There’s something so special about it. It’s something that you can’t reproduce at home like cd’s or even tapes to some degree. Having the bigger artwork and really the whole feeling of a record just is so much better than any other format. Not to mention how pretty our color ones turned out, I was really excited when we saw the final product.
Personally, I think the cassette can be a pain-in-the-ass. Would you agree?
Brandon: No, I actually don’t. It really easy to work with, and I think a lot of our fans still appreciate the cassette, as they seem to still have cassette players in their vehicles. It's also something from a lot of their childhoods that some people miss. If nothing else it’s a nice case for the download card.
What makes vinyl special for you (or any physical release for that matter)?
Daniel: For me, I've been in a ton of bands over the years, some more - The Metal Advisor


"Echoes and Dust Review of Cold Blue Mountain Self-Titled"

Step into flames. Wallow in fears of what is and what could be. Try to breathe while pinned underneath a pile of decimated rubble. Fight to be clear of destruction; of charred beams and fallen walls of familiarity. As the light gets closer you hear it... the faint sound of hope, or the din of chaos. It is muffled at first. It is hard to distinguish one jarring riff from another. Your steady climb reveals more with each cautious step: swirling guitar lines ring out, only to be swallowed by more relentless chugging. Voices now, still so far away. From dark, guttural growls to harsh, demonic shrieks. Almost there. You feel a warm breeze; the surface is nearing. Is it safe? Is there even a world to greet you out there? Has mankind finally pulled the plug and done us all in? Just a few more feet, and you will know.
Chico, California quintet Cold Blue Mountain know. They created the landscape you're trying to escape. From the opening riff of 'Branch Dividian Compound' to the final moments of 'MK Outro,' the band hits you over the head with a hammer and drags you through just over 27 minutes of hot ash and splintered wood. The nine songs on their self-titled record touch on multiple genres: from the stoner-ish 'Dark Secret' to the dense, experimental layers of 'Lone Pine,' there's a chunk of remains for just about any fan of metal; a sludge-filled, doom-laden slab of what can only be described as “good.” Perhaps “great” is a better word. These guys know exactly what they're doing. I, for one, hope they keep doing it.
Cold Blue Mountain was engineered and recorded by Scott Barwick at Origami Lounge, with additional tracking and mixing by Chris Keene at Cutters Cathedral. Mastering was done by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room. The simple, yet captivating cover art was created by Matt Loomis. Vinyl can be procured from Gogmagogical Records.
If you're looking to be pummeled, dragged, and trapped under tons of debris, Cold Blue Mountain has the ticket to your funeral. Maybe you'll survive. Maybe. If so, you'll be better for it. Believe me. - Echoes and Dust


"Echoes and Dust Review of Cold Blue Mountain Self-Titled"

Step into flames. Wallow in fears of what is and what could be. Try to breathe while pinned underneath a pile of decimated rubble. Fight to be clear of destruction; of charred beams and fallen walls of familiarity. As the light gets closer you hear it... the faint sound of hope, or the din of chaos. It is muffled at first. It is hard to distinguish one jarring riff from another. Your steady climb reveals more with each cautious step: swirling guitar lines ring out, only to be swallowed by more relentless chugging. Voices now, still so far away. From dark, guttural growls to harsh, demonic shrieks. Almost there. You feel a warm breeze; the surface is nearing. Is it safe? Is there even a world to greet you out there? Has mankind finally pulled the plug and done us all in? Just a few more feet, and you will know.
Chico, California quintet Cold Blue Mountain know. They created the landscape you're trying to escape. From the opening riff of 'Branch Dividian Compound' to the final moments of 'MK Outro,' the band hits you over the head with a hammer and drags you through just over 27 minutes of hot ash and splintered wood. The nine songs on their self-titled record touch on multiple genres: from the stoner-ish 'Dark Secret' to the dense, experimental layers of 'Lone Pine,' there's a chunk of remains for just about any fan of metal; a sludge-filled, doom-laden slab of what can only be described as “good.” Perhaps “great” is a better word. These guys know exactly what they're doing. I, for one, hope they keep doing it.
Cold Blue Mountain was engineered and recorded by Scott Barwick at Origami Lounge, with additional tracking and mixing by Chris Keene at Cutters Cathedral. Mastering was done by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room. The simple, yet captivating cover art was created by Matt Loomis. Vinyl can be procured from Gogmagogical Records.
If you're looking to be pummeled, dragged, and trapped under tons of debris, Cold Blue Mountain has the ticket to your funeral. Maybe you'll survive. Maybe. If so, you'll be better for it. Believe me. - Echoes and Dust


"Doommantia Review of Cold Blue Mountain S/T"

There had been already strong signs that the folks out at Gogmagogical Records have some fine taste. The fact is further unmistakably assessed by the latest release by this cool US underground label, i.e., the vinyl version of the self-titled debut album by the emerging California-based sludge-doom band Cold Blue Mountain. The album had been released last year as digital format via Bandcamp. Gogmagogical Records decided to support this emerging band and craft one of their super-cool super-solid vinyl editions either in smart black or else in crystalline fresh white and blue resins, and adorned by the delicate yet powerful drawing of the gazelle or long-horned ibex on black background. This (bearded) gazelle or rock goat and the feelings that seeing, or thinking about, such an animal in nature can cause, seems almost to depict the essence of this band, or better of their sound, i.e., a sense of benign strength, of positive natural power, wilderness, toughness, surprise, curiosity, …Having one’s own debut album crafted into such a cool version must be filling the hearts of the Cold Blue Mountain guys of due pride and satisfaction. But their album is much worth of such luscious treatment, because, as far as I am concerned, this is one of the best surprises and most involving heavy albums heard since a while.

And, I say it as a premise, I’m not that crazy about post-metal … (Yes, there is some post-metal involved here, and even some kind of “sludgecore”, that I normally try to avoid, but, hey, these guys cast a spell on me!!!)
The five earnest-looking bearded “cowboys” in the photo are the present-day line-up of Chico-based Cold Blue Mountain band, i.e., from left to right, Daniel Taylor (drums; keyboards), Adrian Hammons (bass), Brandon Squyres (vocals), Will McGahan (guitars) and Sesar Sanchez (guitars). Bassist Adrian Hammons and singer Brandon Squyres are both in (… difficult to pinpoint … epic, blackened thrash/doomcore) band The Makai and Brandon Squyres also sings in sludge-doom monster Amarok (read something here and here, and soon about the new split with Hell!)

So Cold Blue Mountain act may be new to the scene, but the guys have their feet righteously deep into it, for sure. Cold Blue Mountain are tagged as playing “sludge/stoner” on the mighty Metal Archives, although the band’s style is so hybrid that encompasses sludge, doom, macho fuzzy grungy desert-stoner/hard rock, post-metal, hardcore, and let’s add the experimental/prog/avantgarde tag for good measure. This is likely reflecting what the band’s members are and have been into in terms of interests and experience in music. This might also sound the foreword of a mess, if referred to an album. However Cold Blue Mountain were able to blend all this vortex of components into a perfectly smooth synthesis in the comparably short, 30 minutes-long debut album which conjugates badassery side by side with emotional strength and charm in a totally natural and easily flowing way: a “crushing, pretense-free sound”, according to the definition given by the band. The album comprises 9 tracks, i.e. eight songs (Branch Dividian Compound, Time Flies like an Arrow, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, White North, MK Ultra, Dark Secret, Lone Pine, Comatose) plus a short outro (MK Outro).

The synthetic skill of these musicians is such that the transition across the array of styles mentioned above, and especially the frequent escapes into post-metal or the adoption of other experimental solutions, get unfolded into incredibly short time spans. No song on the Cold Blue Mountain album is over 4 minutes long! But this temporal shortness does not mean that these songs are unbalanced, done hasty or things like that. Tracks may change in tempos, moods and styles from one another and actually often within each of them in a sometimes bizarre way, although each song possesses a distinctive character that will never fail in attracting attention.
For example the opener Branch Dividian Compound stands out for the dynamic, almost shamelessly joyful impact of its uptempo development that immediately slaps the listeners in their faces with the manly energy of the rambling, distorted riff charge and war-like drumming. It is a sudden push to headbang, and it is not the only one you’ll experience this urge. Some other tracks (like in Time Flies like an Arrow, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Comatose) may variably explore tormented inner states and/or intimate and mournful atmospheres by using post-metal dissonant, glacial or dilated sounds, by means of the emotional impact of hardcore, by slowing down, or else brutally messing up, tempos.

Intense feelings are sometimes evoked by introduction of keyboards and delicate acoustic passages, like, for example in White North or in the tender piano notes in the MK Outro. But the tormented inner states are not permanent. The band’s riff-heavy heart beats hard for raaawk, so any occasion will be good for steering from torment to gro - Doommantia


"Doommantia Review of Cold Blue Mountain S/T"

There had been already strong signs that the folks out at Gogmagogical Records have some fine taste. The fact is further unmistakably assessed by the latest release by this cool US underground label, i.e., the vinyl version of the self-titled debut album by the emerging California-based sludge-doom band Cold Blue Mountain. The album had been released last year as digital format via Bandcamp. Gogmagogical Records decided to support this emerging band and craft one of their super-cool super-solid vinyl editions either in smart black or else in crystalline fresh white and blue resins, and adorned by the delicate yet powerful drawing of the gazelle or long-horned ibex on black background. This (bearded) gazelle or rock goat and the feelings that seeing, or thinking about, such an animal in nature can cause, seems almost to depict the essence of this band, or better of their sound, i.e., a sense of benign strength, of positive natural power, wilderness, toughness, surprise, curiosity, …Having one’s own debut album crafted into such a cool version must be filling the hearts of the Cold Blue Mountain guys of due pride and satisfaction. But their album is much worth of such luscious treatment, because, as far as I am concerned, this is one of the best surprises and most involving heavy albums heard since a while.

And, I say it as a premise, I’m not that crazy about post-metal … (Yes, there is some post-metal involved here, and even some kind of “sludgecore”, that I normally try to avoid, but, hey, these guys cast a spell on me!!!)
The five earnest-looking bearded “cowboys” in the photo are the present-day line-up of Chico-based Cold Blue Mountain band, i.e., from left to right, Daniel Taylor (drums; keyboards), Adrian Hammons (bass), Brandon Squyres (vocals), Will McGahan (guitars) and Sesar Sanchez (guitars). Bassist Adrian Hammons and singer Brandon Squyres are both in (… difficult to pinpoint … epic, blackened thrash/doomcore) band The Makai and Brandon Squyres also sings in sludge-doom monster Amarok (read something here and here, and soon about the new split with Hell!)

So Cold Blue Mountain act may be new to the scene, but the guys have their feet righteously deep into it, for sure. Cold Blue Mountain are tagged as playing “sludge/stoner” on the mighty Metal Archives, although the band’s style is so hybrid that encompasses sludge, doom, macho fuzzy grungy desert-stoner/hard rock, post-metal, hardcore, and let’s add the experimental/prog/avantgarde tag for good measure. This is likely reflecting what the band’s members are and have been into in terms of interests and experience in music. This might also sound the foreword of a mess, if referred to an album. However Cold Blue Mountain were able to blend all this vortex of components into a perfectly smooth synthesis in the comparably short, 30 minutes-long debut album which conjugates badassery side by side with emotional strength and charm in a totally natural and easily flowing way: a “crushing, pretense-free sound”, according to the definition given by the band. The album comprises 9 tracks, i.e. eight songs (Branch Dividian Compound, Time Flies like an Arrow, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, White North, MK Ultra, Dark Secret, Lone Pine, Comatose) plus a short outro (MK Outro).

The synthetic skill of these musicians is such that the transition across the array of styles mentioned above, and especially the frequent escapes into post-metal or the adoption of other experimental solutions, get unfolded into incredibly short time spans. No song on the Cold Blue Mountain album is over 4 minutes long! But this temporal shortness does not mean that these songs are unbalanced, done hasty or things like that. Tracks may change in tempos, moods and styles from one another and actually often within each of them in a sometimes bizarre way, although each song possesses a distinctive character that will never fail in attracting attention.
For example the opener Branch Dividian Compound stands out for the dynamic, almost shamelessly joyful impact of its uptempo development that immediately slaps the listeners in their faces with the manly energy of the rambling, distorted riff charge and war-like drumming. It is a sudden push to headbang, and it is not the only one you’ll experience this urge. Some other tracks (like in Time Flies like an Arrow, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Comatose) may variably explore tormented inner states and/or intimate and mournful atmospheres by using post-metal dissonant, glacial or dilated sounds, by means of the emotional impact of hardcore, by slowing down, or else brutally messing up, tempos.

Intense feelings are sometimes evoked by introduction of keyboards and delicate acoustic passages, like, for example in White North or in the tender piano notes in the MK Outro. But the tormented inner states are not permanent. The band’s riff-heavy heart beats hard for raaawk, so any occasion will be good for steering from torment to gro - Doommantia


Discography

S/T - Gogmagogical Records/Vulture Print (2013)

Photos

Bio

Initially formed as a three-piece instrumental outfit, Cold Blue Mountain slowly morphed into its current form, including vocalist Brandon Squyres and bassist Adrian Hammons (formerly of The Makai), guitarists Will McGahan and Sesar Sanchez, and drummer Daniel Taylor. The band's debut full length, a nine-song self-titled epic tracked at Origami Lounge studios in Chico, mixed by Chris Keene and mastered at The Boiler Room in Chicago by Collin Jordan, was released in 2013 on tape through Vulture Print and 12? vinyl on Gogmagogical Records. The self-titled record spans the full spectrum of heaviness from the riff-heavy, uptempo “Branch Davidian Compound” to the dirge-like “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”, touching on the bands’ broad array of influences and the band members’ past, and current, multitude of musical projects. Cold Blue Mountain is currently at work on their second full length, to be released in early 2014. In the meanwhile, frontman Brandon Squyres is currently competing on Season 23 of CBS reality television show the Amazing Race.