Who can forget the opening cowbell followed by that sinister, heavy guitar riff of the opening track "Mississippi Queen" on Mountain's sophomore album, Climbing!? The folks at SONY have just remastered the Mountain catalog, and quite frankly this early hard rock/metal masterpiece from 1970 never sounded better. Featuring the legendary guitar work of Leslie West (one of Michael Schenker's main influences) on his stinging Gibson Flying V, bassist Felix Pappalardi, keyboard player Steve Knight, and drummer Corky Laing, this album today still stands the test of time as a heavy rock classic.
The sound here is quite remarkable, crystal clear actually, with West's guitar as crunchy as ever. Listen to the venemous riffs on "Never In My Life", the psychedelia tinged "For Yasgur's Farm", or the heavy blues stomp of "Sittin' On a Rainbow" for a great indication of what this band was all about. Of course, the classic prog track "Theme From an Imaginary Western" is here as well, sounding as trippy and atmospheric as ever, with Pappalardi's melodic vocals soaring over Knight's majestic organ and Mellotron.
As a bonus, a killer live version of "For Yasgur's Farm" is included on the CD. Anyone not already familiar with Mountain's brand of heavy rock (think a combination of Cream, Hendrix, Black Sabbath, The Allman Brothers, and maybe Grand Funk Railroad) now have the perfect excuse to dive into one of the best of the early metal albums.