Goth Mountain is back with a vengeance in Retribution! A concept album with a different take on the so-called "American Dream." More experimental and cinematic than the debut album, Retribution invokes many genres of psychedelic music including alternative pop, blues, folk, black metal, reggae and rap wrapped up in the signature sixties acid rock style that Goth Mountain fans demand.
Retribution blasts off with Snakes, a slow-building and twisted hard rock tour-de-force. Lazarus, a cover song by the UK progrock band Porcupine Tree, follows up Snakes and prepares the listener for the next six songs with an American history focus. These six songs are the heart of the album and take a hard candid look at America's sordid past through a kaleidoscope lens.
The Americana trip begins with Smoke Signals, which includes the last recording of the Ho Chunk language from 1929. Jaspar Blowsnake of the Winnebago Tribe chants a poem fireside to a throbbing Goth Mountain beat. The story of the lost colony of Roanoke is invoked and the obvious possibility that Native Americans were the reason for the settlers "mysterious" disappearance.
Alabama Baby graphically tells the story of a recently freed African-American girl who seeks the "opportunities" of post-slavery America. Guest vocalist Jemima Jones soulfully wails along with Goth Mountain's W.J. McKay in a steamy sex story that is anything but romantic.
The title track Retribution re-creates a 19th Century family feud in an updated southern style folk rock song. Irish folk singers back up McKay, who references his own clan's historical 500 year feud with the Sutherlands in Cape Wrath, Scotland. The song suggests what might have happened in the American west had these two hillbilly families settled near each other. The song is really about letting go of the past and embracing the future . . . a bit ironic for the title track of an album that spans hundreds of years of American history!
Coolie Dream can only be described as an oriental reggae song. Sounds of the train station at Folsom, California in 1849 are re-created in this story of the plight of Chinese immigrants as they chased that ever-elusive "American Dream." Traditional Chinese folk music fades in and out in a psychedelic dub style.
Americana Rag includes early recordings of Al Jolson, Lum and Abner, and the Six Brown Brother's song "Smiles and Chuckles" with strange lyrics and vocals by W.J. McKay. The archival recordings came from the U.S. Library of Congress. The song reminds the listener of how much home entertainment has changed in less than a century by listening in on a typical early 20th Century American living room.
Ghosts of War is a tribute to our troops in Iraq. We all mourn for the thousands of young lives snuffed out overseas, but Ghosts of War is about those who return home to find out that their "American Dream" is really a nightmare. The George W. Bush speech was used without any permission whatsoever. This modern classic hard rock song is reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, who lived during another time of American conflict overseas. Special thanks to National Public Radio for the use of their broadcast. Ghosts of War is dedicated to our troops to whom we all owe an unpayable debt.
Another May breaks the listener out of the past and into the politics of a springtime romance . . . that erupts into a black metal anthem of hate. "Another May is the MOST metal song that I've ever heard!" is what Ryan Zweng of the Los Angeles supergroup Zweng said after hearing it at the Goth Mountain Studio. Ryan Zweng also assisted in the production and arrangement of this album.
This sweeping epic album climaxes with Synesthesia, arguably one of the most PSYCHEDELIC rock songs of all time. This is a classic rock song in the vein of Pink Floyd meets The Moody Blues with the sitar of Ravi Shankar with The Beatles. Synesthesia is a human mental condition that causes its victims to mix up sensory input. Synesthetes hear colors, see sounds, and feel light, all symptoms shared by people tripping on hallucinogenic drugs. But like taking drugs, the synesthetic condition isn't all fun and games. Themes of synesthesia run through the whole album, but this song is dedicated to the late Syd Barrett, Founder of Pink Floyd. After hearing the song, one might wonder if Syd Barrett himself was a synesthete.
"Goth Mountain is a band, a place, a studio, a retreat, a howl, a laugh, a lifestyle, a state of mind." W.J. McKay of Goth Mountain