Mountain of Smoke
from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas
Mountain of Smoke started in 2013 as a two piece drum and bass metal band. Pj Costigan and Brooks Martin both wanted to do something new, innovative, and with an element of science fiction tied into it. Between-jam discussions of the finer points of sci- fi flicks, Mountain of Smoke was born, finding its sound in the elemental power of glacial pacing and high gain, low-end thunder.
The duo brandished their newly forged form of sludge metal in Fort Worth on 4/20/2013. Inspired by the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, Mountain of Smoke’s first self-released demos caught local attention spans in a vice grip.
While writing their new material for their first full album – Brooks imagined the concept for their next one as “Blade Runner fan fiction,” but the sound didn’t fit what he heard in his head – but around the same time, his and Costigan’s longtime friend, guitarist Alex Johnson (House Harkonnen, Blood of the Sun, Convoy and the Cattlemen) had expressed interest in joining the band on lap steel, assuring them that the instrument, normally a staple of country bands, would work to make their already-heavy sound even more punishing. Johnson got his shot during the band’s next recording session. Mountain of Smoke, as a duo, had essentially rewritten their second album by then and headed into Civil Audio in Denton, TX to record it with engineer Michael Briggs (Kylesa, Tera Melos, Sarah Jaffe) in 2018. When the album was mostly tracked, Brooks and Costigan had Johnson overdub lap steel. Johnson ran it through a battery of effects pedals, giving the new songs’ ominous menace and furious attack some eerie, frightening aural textures.
Called Gods of Biomechanics, Mountain of Smoke’s album (also self-released) ramped up the pace and broadened their sonic spectrum, building on Blade Runner’s mythology to include the imagined perspectives and backstories of the film’s secondary characters, their stories borne on the band’s heavy distortion and rhythmic bludgeoning. It also cemented Johnson as a full-time member, as well as winning praise from local press like the Dallas Observer and FW Weekly and notable stoner rock blog The Obelisk.
Now a trio, Mountain of Smoke toured their new album throughout Texas, filling opening slots for heavy hitters like Black Cobra, Fu Manchu, Bongzilla, Weedeater, Big Business, Bongripper, MOS Generator, Mondo Generator, Conan, Monolord, Pentagram, Fucked Up, Whores, and American Sharks. They also played a few shows with Austin’s heavy metal Pink Floyd tribute Doom Side of the Moon, which caught the attention of DSOTM guitarist Kyle Shutt, most famous for his work with stoner rock troubadours The Sword.
Shutt became something of a Mountain of Smoke fan, and toward the end of 2018, he sent Brooks a text. “I want to join your band.” And as crazy as that sounded – Brooks and Costigan have been fans of The Sword from way back – Shutt joined Mountain of Smoke on guitar in early 2019. Besides adding even more destructive power to the band’s live show, Shutt joined them in the studio in the spring of 2019 to begin work on their third album as a four-piece. The new album continues the band’s obsessions with sci-fi, high volumes, and brutal percussion, and along with Shutt’s guitar, it includes vocal contributions from True Widow’s Nikki Cage and Doomfall’s Katie Puryear. Through each lineup iteration, Mountain of Smoke continues to evolve into increasingly heavier forms. What started as a heavy metal hangout session is now poised to become one of the giants of the doom metal genre. Stray into their path and enjoy total sonic obliteration.