When I picked up this "new release" up in '74, I couldn't have been a bigger fan of Mountain. Imagine my excitement as I stared at the album cover, with it's promise of big, big things ... Leslie flailing away on his axe, Felix at his side, Corky no doubt pounding away in the background. It couldn't miss! Imagine, then, my dismay and confusion as I plowed through track after track. All the elements were there, but the magic was missing. Huh?
Time gives one perspective. We all know that Mountain went through the familiar arc of rock band rise/success/burnout, with its requisite chemical abuse, ego imbalances, legal/contract hassles, touring fatigue, and general ennui after riding too high for an extended period of time. This band was no exception. AVALANCHE documents a band in the beginning of a death spiral. Sure, there would be more "product" from them under this moniker, with or without any of the original members. But that delicate balance of savagery and poetry that was Leslie and Felix' relationship had soured. After Climbing the Mountain, they tasted too much of the Flowers of Evil ... the Nantucket Sleighride was over.