Back in 2009, a record was produced by a few young guys from Salem, Oregon. Going by the name Sorceress, they made 100 copies of a debut album called Beneath the Mountain.
Beneath the Mountain was raucous and unpredictable, and it pulled as freely from the Stoner Rock, Doom, and Psychedelic scenes as it did from high fantasy and ancient mythology.
And it barely made a mark out there in Salem.
But after Sorceress disbanded, the members went on to do big things.
Most notably, singer and bassist A.L.N. started the celebrated Doom/Black Metal solo project Mizmor, while guitarist M.S.W. started the extreme Doom Metal project Hell.
As Mizmor and Hell have grown in popularity over the years, “Beneath the Mountain” has become the stuff of legends—and underground scene members have clamored for copies of the album on CD whenever one or two surfaced.
But now Sorceress is back, so to speak.
They’ve partnered with King Volume Records to remaster the album and give it the enthusiastic vinyl release it never received 14 years ago.
- Andrew Black
- Blake Ferrin
Beneath the Mountain was recorded and mixed by Edgar McRae, the album was remastered by Adam Gonsalves, and the art was created by Kento Woolery.
Beneath the Mountain Album Review
Release Date: March 3, 2023
Label: King Volume Records
Track 1 – Wolves of Asgard
After that initial fuzzy feedback, “Wolves of Asgard” breaks into a galloping explosion of riffs and drums, creating an exhilarating wall of sound. And since “Wolves of Asgard” is an instrumental track, it’s a genuinely fun jam tune that shows the band stretching their legs.
Track 2 – Nine Muses
Wavering with haunting, ethereal Occult Rock delivery and unholy tritones, “Nine Muses” is an unsettling track—combining bands like Black Sabbath and Witch with the likes of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats.
Track 3 – …Of the Trees
“…Of the Trees” is the first 10-minute song on the album. And although it’s a haunting follow-up to “Nine Muses,” there’s a bit more melody and approachability here.
With those raw drums and waves of distortion, “…Of the Trees” is a heavy Psychedelic track, with some points even nearly dipping into Acid Rock.
And by the second half of the song, we find the band experimenting even further, with weird, experimental sounds that may call to mind bands like Primus or King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Track 4 – Black Acid Mother
After that wicked introduction, “Black Acid Mother” returns us to that Stoner Doom sound of “Wolves of Asgard.”
And, most notably, to song offers some blistering guitar heroics in the middle of the track as the time signature shifts into overdrive.
Track 5 – Anar
“Anar” runs just over 13 minutes, and it’s an absolute blast. After its playful, bluesy opening, “Anar” explores a few different fuzzy genres and ideas.
Track 6 – Beneath the Mountain
“Beneath the Mountain” says it’s nearly 20 minutes long, but the song itself is closer to 11 minutes. That’s because the second half is mostly noise.
But “Beneath the Mountain” kicks off with a delicious fuzzy riff and those haunted vocals from earlier, eventually landing us in droning, doomy soundscapes where the vocals and instrumentation rip through the void.
Eventually, the song gives way to a massive cacophony of sound. Occasionally, you’ll find simple whistles of wind. And sometimes you’ll hear huge, far-off riffs. It’s a wild, unpredictable ride.
Final Score: 10/10
Standout Tracks: “Wolves of Asgard” and “Black Acid Mother”
Pros: Beneath the Mountain is a legendary record in certain circles, and it’s incredible that the general populous will finally get an opportunity to hold it in their hands and stream it on repeat.
And although the record is legendary largely because of the musicians behind it, it’s an excellent album in its own right—and that only makes it even more noteworthy.
Cons: There’s a fair amount of experimentation on Beneath the Mountain, and most of it works.
Occasionally, though, something falls flat.
The second half of “Beneath the Mountain” is somewhat disappointing when you finally reach it.
Sorceress isn’t the first band in the world to conclude an album with chaos, but it feels like we’re getting short-changed after 11 solid minutes of musical genius.
Perhaps the conclusion of this album could have been excused with even more (and similar) sonic exploration throughout the rest of the album.
Still, the parts where the experiments don’t work aren’t enough to overshadow the relative brilliance found throughout the rest of the album.