MOUNTAIN OF POWER – Volume One (reissue 2012)
Put together in the two decades ago, MOUNTAIN OF POWER is the heavy rocking brainchild of six string virtuoso Janne Stark member of melodic rockers Grand Design, Constancia, Locomotive Breath, etc, as well as writer of The Encyclopedia Of Swedish Hard Rock And Heavy Metal – to pay homage to ’70s guitar-driven classic / hard rock.
MOUNTAIN OF POWER’s focuses on cover of songs from Seventies bands – some famous, some not – peppered with heavy riffing and lots of guitar solos.
As requested, here’s MOUNTAIN OF POWER first album originally appeared 2007, this is the 2012 reissue. “Volume One” presents killer versions from giants such as Derringer, Montrose, Samson, Mountain and songs from others that graced history under supreme cult status like Budgie, Moxy, Point Blank, etc.
The recording features some stellar guests in the form of Swedish guitarists Thomas Larsson (Glenn Hughes), Tommy Denander, Emil Fredholm (Plankton), vocalists Pelle Saether (Grand Design), Chris Catena, Bjorn Lodin (Baltimoore), David Fremberg (Constancia), Mattias Osback (Locomotive Breath) – just to name a few. Powerhouse drums were played by Peter Svensson & Anders Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen).
Stark assembled a set of obscure 70s guitar rock anthems that scream with an intensity unmatched in today’s music world. The track listing alone is impressive and demands a respectful tip of the cap. With songs from underground legends such as Budgie, Point Blank, Captain Beyond and Samson, Stark proves he’s a student of the game.
These tunes were dug from the precious soil of 70s hard rock, and they weren’t found lying on the surface either; Stark dug deep to find great songs that were worthy of modern representation.
Seeing songs from Rick Derringer and Moxy on the track listing was something that had me respecting them instantly, but actually hearing their amazing renditions of these songs was something astonishing. Most of the material here is animalistic; primal and vicious.
Like a rabid dog these tracks come running at you full force. The impressive thing with this disc is how it still remains structured and precise while it rips your head apart. It never gets out of control and wanders. As wild and untamed as these songs are, Stark plays his guitar with a sense of melody and an attention to song detail that never falters.
With songs like Samson’s “Tomorrow Or Yesterday” demanding a steady rhythm, nothing is lost when Stark starts to explode with guitar fireworks. The poise and class of this band is really quite phenomenal. Whether it is the dual harmony leads of Stray Dog’s “Crazy” or the Rainbow-tinged spirit of Montrose’s “Black Train,” Mountain Of Power captures the heart and soul of each piece and delivers a blast of guitar fury that will please even the pickiest guitar rock fan.
I can’t even remember the last time I heard anyone tear into guitar solos like this; come to think of it, it was probably in the 70s. Every song houses a big fat guitar part, and each of them is bone crushing.
One of the most impressive selections here is a song called “One Of A Kind.” It was originally done by a band called Wireless, who had their record produced by Rush frontman Geddy Lee. Yes, MOP does a wonderful job in its rendition of the song, but that’s not why I find this exceedingly impressive. They know who Wireless is!! Wireless is a band that got past even the most seasoned rock fan when they were buried by bubblegum pop in the early 80s. I find it terribly exciting to have them back in this setting.
It was the same feeling when I heard their smokin’ version of Captain Beyond’s “Fantasy” mid-way through the disc. Captain Beyond stands as one of the great “unknowns” of our time, and it’s great to see a band like MOP recognize that.
The super riff that leads Neon Rose’s “Love Rock”… the bashing of Mountain’s “Dreams Of Milk & Honey”… the caressing rhythms and blistering solos within their original instrumental self-titled song… No matter what track you find yourself being assaulted by, you’re in for a real treat.
Guitarist Janne Stark is one of the best in the entire world, and he has surrounded himself with some of the finest musicians available. If you are a fan of guitar heavy hard rock, this is a must.
01 – IN FOR THE KILL (BUDGIE)
02 – DREAMS OF MILK & HONEY (MOUNTAIN)
03 – BLACK TRAIN (MONTROSE)
04 – UNCLE NED (POINT BLANK)
05 – BLACK MAGIC (MARCUS)
06 – OUT OF THE DARKNESS (MOXY)
07 – SITTING BY THE POOL (DERRINGER)
08 – FANTASY (CAPTAIN BEYOND)
09 – ONE OF A KIND (WIRELESS)
10 – CRAZY (STRAY DOG)
11 – LET THAT LIZARD LOOSE (GODDO)
12 – LOVE ROCK (NEON ROSE)
13 – TOMORROW OR YESTERDAY (SAMSON)
14 – MOUNTAIN OF POWER (MOUNTAIN OF POWER)
Janne Stark – Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Bass
Peter Svensson, Anders Johansson – Drums
Lars Schmidt – Bass
Emil Fredholm (Plankton)