Record Reviews

Sacred Bull: Ragged Mountain Review

(Super Carnival Recordings) Loosely inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” Sacred Bull’s sophomore release Ragged Mountain is an instrumental post-metal epic with a crushing atmospheric weight alleviated only by brief moments of transcendental brightness. Like all traditional stories, the album begins with an introduction, “Magnetic Somnolency,” a hypnotizing soundscape that alludes to Poe’s treatment of animal magnetism (mesmerism), a theory suggesting that an invisible force possessed by all living things can be manipulated by others. Once under its spell, listeners are then transported to an environment “Never Before Trodden”—a reference to a story character’s ramble through strange and previously uncharted land—that captures the wonder and harsh neutrality of nature. The album briefly visits the sacred Indian city “Varanasi,” which makes a mirage-like appearance to the story’s character, before meeting its final fate in “Treatise of Leeches.” Ragged Mountain tells a narrative all on its own, but reading Poe’s mysterious short story while listening to this as a heavy doom soundtrack makes for a uniquely dramatic audiovisual experience.