This record focuses on their energetic, raw, punky side, more than ever before. While there is still plenty mewling throughout, it’s less the sound of blind crippling sorrow, and more the sound of the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. They are mad and they’re not going to take it anymore.
Bookending tracks There is a Light and ‘Piphany Rambler are the most plaintive and emotionally reflective pieces on offer here. The trinity of Collapse Traditional, filters folk through the modern SMZ spectrum.
This album is heavily vocally-oriented, often a point of contention but to be quite honest, at this point Silver Mt. Zion fans should either get used to that or move on. I’ve come to enjoy this aspect of the band a great deal, a reflection of the frail beauty the band espouses. What’s slightly less exciting for myself is the tendency to run the violins through so much distortion. It works in the context of these songs, but the softer more emotionally fragile strings are something I do miss from early days.
That said though, this is an album well worth the legacy of this band. Things have changed, the line-up has been trimmed and they’ve become louder, more direct, with a more overtly rock or punk vibe than ever before, but this change in tone has proven worthwhile. See I Built Myself a Metal Bird, I Fed My Metal Bird the Wings of Other Metal Birds for details. In fact:
And yes, Silver Mt. Zion are still as cathartic as hell, like a concentrated emotional breakdown. Bitter anger, endless remorse, and then, just when you need it, a glimmer of hope. There’s still no other band that does that as well as these guys.