Songs From Black Mountain review by Live

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  • Released: Jun 6, 2006
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 7 (23 votes)
Live: Songs From Black Mountain
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Sound — 6
It's that kind of age when you start to seeing your live differently and that reflects upon everything you do. Members of Live, being in their early 30s, release a new album Songs From A Black Mountain, which should mark a new beginning for the band. With this seventh studio album Chad Taylor (guitar), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass), Chad Gracey (drums), and Ed Kowalczyk (vocals) close the chapter and start it all over again, with a new producer Jim Wirt (Incubus, Hoobastank) and with a new record label Epic.

Unlike its haunting name, the album turns out to be very light and easygoing. It's really hard to find anything that would connect the songs with the black mountain. Instead of that there's a record full of romantic rock songs about love. For their rebirth the band has chosen a new style -- more mellow and restrained with la-la-la and oooh, baby songs. It looks pretty much as the record was borrowed from the '90s when mushy pop in the UK got it's peak. There are a few driving guitars with a rock feel, which sound a bit funny along with all these pop melodies and light drums. Though all by themselves there are some pretty cool guitar hooks. All the instruments are done very skill-wise, but it's the vocals that stay on the same level all through the song. I would say most tracks are below mediocre level, though with a few good melody lines. Among usual love-songs there's a song in which Kowalczyk talks to his daughters about Jesus (Love Shines (A Song For My Daughters About God)) and an anti-war anthem -- tearful Being afraid to get involved into any political Iraq stuff, the author claims the song is about stopping all the wars in general.

All I Need has one of the cheesiest tempo changes I've ever heard. Who would slow down the song right before the chorus and then play it faster again in the verse? Live would. If you have any music background, Songs From The Black Mountain wouldn't be of any interest to you (well, maybe only if somebody from the band is the guy you once dated).

Lyrics — 5
Lyrics are more than obvious at times. Like, The future is now/The past is gone forever -- anybody doubted that? And right after that Can come together/The light is our way -- is there anything more cliched than that?

Ed Kowalcyzk's unemotional voice doesn't really express any feelings (yelling in doesn't count). It's more like's pushed to sing and the producer has to add various effects to vocals to make it sound like a song about Something. Mystery has some of falsetto singing during the chorus, which is my only excitement about vocals. Not that it's too impressive either.

Overall Impression — 5
Overall I should say it's not Really bad, it's just a Weirdly bad record from a band like Live. Most of the tracks on Songs From The Black Mountain are catchy and it's that case of when one damn line keeps playing in your head forever. It's a good summer soundtrack if you're in a good mood. If you're not, the record would annoy you with every next song.

That was my friend's excitement about the record that made me hope it's gonna be good. But I failed in my hopes. Live still live up on the 10-year-old success of their Throwing Copper. Maybe it's Kowalczyk's spiritual experiences that suddenly has gone Zen Buddhism and very down-to-earth, but the music has lost its sprit. New record can insult the old fans of the band by it's primitivism. Get Ready is the proud winner to showcase how bad things turned out to be for Live. The era of post-grunge and fights has gone -- the creative force of the band Kowalczyk is now a father and a husband -- excitement on how to make a good party have changed to worries on how to make kids go to bed.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Friar Tuck
    I was actually bitterly disappointed with this record when I got it, tho it has grown on me quite a bit since then. If you're expecting the angst and frustration that crafted Throwing Copper so beautifully then you'll be disappointed. However, SFBM is a hugely positive album which is refreshing to hear nowadays - though I think it's more for newcomers than those who jived to T.B.D in '94. I had the pleasure of their company last night in London and my god, what a show!
    fade2blak06
    i was hugely dissapointed with this new album. ive listened to a lot of live songs in the past and for the most part i liked just about all of them. (this doesnt mean ive listened to every album, but i liked the songs i have heard from several different albums) I bought this album for my birthday thinking it would be great, but i was wrong. after listening to the first couple songs i started thinking "these songs sound kind of familiar" and then it hit me. this sounds like something you would hear on radio disney. i dont know what happened. but i wish live would go back to there throwing copper days. that was an amazing album. if you have never bought a live album, by that one. not the new one becuase its awful!
    jcthomasva
    Live is still alive? Listened to some pre- and post-Throwing copper stuff, and wasn't terribly impressed.
    ARCL1GHT
    i've listened to live since throwing copper, and have yet to be let down by a single album since then. i bought this album the day it came out, and i must say my view on the band hasn't changed a bit i love this one too. one thing i love about live is they never do the same thing twice wich personally i think is one thing that makes a great band great.
    tonker01
    I've been a prettt big of Live over the years and I have to say that I'm disappointed as well. I guess I just the rockin / heavier sounding sounds from Mental Jewlry, Throwing Copper, Secret Sahmadi, etc... this album souds similar to the last album but even more "poppy". I also the other big difference is the introduction of keyboards in most songs... I agree that some of the songs are catchy.... I think I would still see them live though!
    skwank
    ?The future is now/The past is gone forever? -- anybody doubted that?
    HAHAHAHAHA, now thats funny