10 Albums That Shaped Mount Cyanide

Photo: Mark Zibert

Toronto power trio Mount Cyanide not only has a killer band name, they also have the kind of skyscraping tunes to back it up. Alchemists of a sound that blends elements of black metal, doom, and the kind of post-everything stuff Hydra Head Records used to put out, Mount Cyanide is aggressive as all hell, but there's an air of mystery lurking right beneath the surface. 

No Echo has spun the group's brand-new eponymous debut album a few times in the last week, and the more we do, the more Mount Cyanide's sinister guitar and vocal combination has seeped into our skull:

In this No Echo exclusive, the musicians behind Mount Cyanide list the albums that helped shape them as musicians. 


Carcass, Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)

While many would rightly put Heartwork atop the Carcass catalog, Necroticism’s fiery blast beats, sardonic wit and downright toe-tapping riffs have long been a major inspiration. Jeff Walker’s spitfire vocals and delightfully grim narratives conjure a cold, yet not-entirely-humorless theatre of the absurd. 

In addition to the amazing music, the album’s use of samples and sound design really elevate the entire endeavour, taking it from a mere collection of great songs, to a fully realized ‘work’. From concept to execution, for me, this record is the gold standard in extreme metal.  

[Chosen by bassist/vocalist Nick Sewell]

Fugazi, Steady Diet of Nothing (1991)

"What Would Fugazi Do?" is important to ponder. Whether you're planning a wedding, choosing a fishing lure, or especially when writing and performing music. As a metal band we can inject any aspect of Fugazi inspiration into our music and it comes out improved. 

The Fugazi discography is undefeated, but Steady Diet stands out as the highlight — catchy and deep as you expect, but it's also Fugazi at their darkest, moodiest and heaviest. It's one of those perfect albums without a bad song on it. As soon as a track ends, you hum the opening of the next tune, and before you know it, you've listened to the whole thing front-to-back again. 

I've read Ian MacKaye considers this album to be "flat" but I think that's exactly what our metal ears consider to be the more morose and melancholic vibe, compared to previous more ebullient Fugazi releases.

[Chosen by guitarist Chris Blackwell]

Dimmu Borgir: Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia (2001)

Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve listened to this album but if you look passed the ostentatious and cartoonish spectacle that is satanic symphonic black metal, what remains is an absolutely crushing album. Nick Barker’s drumming is equal parts brutal, precise and tasteful. Puritanical was my intro to the incredible machine that is Nick Barker and he has remained one of my absolute favourite metal drummers since. 

[Chosen by drummer Jim Gering]

Fantômas, The Director’s Cut (2001)

The second album from Mike Patton’s supergroup featuring Buzz Osborne, Trevor Dunn, and Dave Lombardo is another example of an amazing concept that somehow manages to exceed the sum of its formidable core components. Reimagining classic film scores such as The Omen, Cape Fear, and The Godfather, The Director’s Cut veers between extreme metal, doom, and just plain old weirdness. 

At once both spacious and claustrophobic, the album is drenched in atmosphere and was immensely instructive for developing ‘mood’. Someone approached us after a show one night and said: “Your set was a like a movie." That’s the influence of this record through and through. 

[Chosen by bassist/vocalist Nick Sewell]

Gatecreeper, Sonoran Depravation (2016)

All Entombedcore and Kurt Ballou-touched bands have an easy shortcut to my heart, but I heard this album at the perfect time, because it reminded me that there's still heart-pounding work to be done in brutal music. It can still sound fresh and make you want to drive your car into the gaping maw of the garbage truck in front of you, like the first time I heard the heavy stomps of Obituary and Entombed.

As the second track ended, "Sterilized," I just casually realized "oh, this my new favorite band." Soon after, Jim called me up and told me Nick was starting a metal band, and I probably agreed to it directly because I was listening to this album non-stop. 

[Chosen by guitarist Chris Blackwell]

Dawn, Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy) (1998)

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve played this album more than any other. I tend to play an album to death before moving on to the next. Given that I’ve drained this album of all nutrients, I still hold "The Knell and the World" as one of my favourite tracks ever and I can still come back to it and love it. This album is a perfect blend of depressive, nihilistic elements and merciless black metal. I have absorbed this album, and in doing so, I can only assume Slaughtersun comes out as hugely influential.

[Chosen by drummer Jim Gering]

Morbid Angel, Covenant (1993)

For me, the third LP from the Florida legends remains their best and most fully realized. The departure of second guitar player Richard Burnell freed up Trey Azagthoth to really let loose, and his playing on this record is stellar. At all times, his guitar sounds just barely under control, like a wild a beast that might break loose at any second. 

When we started Cyanide, that was a quality I really wanted to somehow capture. Obviously Chris’ playing style is much different, but the idea of treating the guitar as a volatile and unstable isotope remains totally compelling.  

[Chosen by bassist/vocalist Nick Sewell]

Napalm Death, Diatribes (1996)

When I say I love this album, people often think I'm being contrarian or stupid. Fair, but the heart wants what the heart wants. When I bought it as a young man I thought, "Finally, Napalm Death is getting good." I can feel your anger, but I unabashedly love this period of mid-'90s more "palatable" extreme music. Sony was putting out Sepultura, Carcass, and Entombed records and ads for Wolverine Blues displayed on billboards in Times Square. Things were weird, but Chaos A.D., Heartwork, and Wolverine Blues stand to this day.

I've always been a fan of albums where a band tempers their extremes into more compelling sounds, because it's harder than it seems. Being the fastest, grossest, or most unlistenable isn't as interesting as a band tasking itself with creating something bigger, something out of their comfort zone, something they probably know will divide fans.

This Napalm album sounds clean, to the point, and is loaded with killer songs, killer riffs, and the new '90s groove. But most importantly, it still sounds like no one else. It's Napalm Death. It's a great lesson in taking far flung, underground niche influences and crafting them into something wholly unique -- not always trying to simply outdo the last extreme, following the train tracks you've laid down before. And "Greed Killing" is the fucking jam.  

[Chosen by guitarist Chris Blackwell]

Solbrud, Vemod (2017)

Solbrud is easily in my top 5 bands. My introduction to them was their previous album, Jærtegn, and I was instantly on board. They just had all the right ingredients I look for. Depressive vibes, merciless grind and the transcendental quality of drawn out tracks that hold your attention. Super solid Danish black metal reminiscent of bands from the Pacific Northwest. I listened to this album for almost half a year straight before recording the Mount Cyanide album.

[Chosen by drummer Jim Gering]

Drive Like Jehu, Yank Crime (1994)

One might not expect a seminal post-hardcore record to figure into a new metal project, but 1994’s Yank Crime is rife with lessons for constructing harrowing, guitar-based music. Angular minor chords and lurching rhythms get intermittently pummelled by John Reis’ squealing, birdsong-like feedback for a sonic attack like no other. 

Despite the whirlwind of sound, there are many quiet moments on this record, and a distinct atmosphere of loneliness permeates the entire affair. As we were writing the Cyanide LP, we would often ask ourselves “Is it ‘blue’ enough?” Injecting our music with a sense of melancholy seemed mandatory, and Yank Crime helped show the way.


The Mount Cyanide album is available now on Bandcamp.

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