Release Date: May 24, 2019
Record label: Jagjaguwar
The Canadian heavy-psych group's fifth studio long-player and the follow-up to 2016's IV, Destroyer is Black Mountain's tightest, gnarliest, and least sprawling outing to date. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, the eight-track set commences with the assured "Future Shade," a guitarmony-heavy nitro-burning dragster of a jam that channels British Steel-era Judas Priest by way of Fu Manchu. Featuring a re-tooled lineup that introduces Rachel Fannan of Sleepy Sun and a trio of seasoned kit men (Adam Bulgasem [Dommengang, Soft Kill], Kliph Scurlock [Flaming Lips], and Kid Millions [Oneida]), Destroyer lives up to its moniker by using muscly classic rock and trashy '80s metal for a lodestar -- the name is a reference to the single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer.
Stephen McBean, the mainstay of the Black Mountain project as well as a key member of Pink Mountaintops and Grim Tower, has only recently passed his driving test (at the age of 48). This newfound sense of liberation and personal independence has permeated the essence of Destroyer, which is named after a Dodge muscle car, in its narrative themes of hope, freedom and looking to the future with optimism. Think late-70s Springsteen or early-90s Swervedriver in terms of narrative tropes around escape and journeys towards a brighter tomorrow.
Like a bitchin' phoenix airbrushed on the side of a tricked-out '78 Dodge B200 van, Black Mountain is a band always in the process of being reborn. Turnover has been almost constant in the metal outfit's 15-year history, with each album boasting a slightly different lineup. Founding members Joshua Wells and Amber Webber left the group in 2016, shortly after the release of their fourth album, handily titled IV.