Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. The Mountain represents not only a point of no return and a cornerstone for the Heartless Bastards; the album's a personal triumph of desolate determination.
  2. This album isn't merely a single peak, but a whole mountain range.
  3. The third album from this inaccurately named Austin trio opens with its title track, an epic slab of country-grunge that beautifully showcases the soulful, weathered vocals of frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom.
  4. On their third full-length, Heartless Bastards honor the penetrating howl of leader Erika Wennerstrom, who sounds like Robert Plant's less-shrill American sister, by including several acoustic tunes that underscore her vocal versatility.
  5. Angry blues stomps such as ‘Early In The Morning’ are the aural equivalent of Wild Turkey for breakfast, while ‘Out At Sea’ combines the grit and growl of the Bastards’ beginnings with a layering of sounds that’s wider, more expansive and ultimately more interesting.
  6. The Mountain is a more diverse set than the old Heartless Bastards gave us, it's still rooted in the same emotionally direct songwriting and performing that is this band's trademark, and for all that's changed with the band, Wennerstrom has held on to her core virtues.
  7. 80
    With steel guitars, fiddles, banjos and newspaper-scrap reports of floods and desolation, The Mountain is as fierce as any past Bastards recording, just more honed and hellbound.
  8. Wennerstrom is content to simply juxtapose the two approaches with ragged enthusiasm, trusting that listeners can recognize the kinship. Chances are we can. Especially when the results are as artful as they are on this record.
  9. 80
    The result, which is gentler and more eclectic than the Bastards' earlier releases, is also Wennerstrom's most glorious, a collection of salty, rousing rock'n'roll that'll leave you aching for a roadhouse, a sticky bar stool, and a chipped glass of bourbon.
  10. There's not much fault to find with the music here, however, particularly when she elects to dial down the raw-edged guitar fuzz the Bastards have become known for.
  11. Alternative Press
    The Mountain brings a new rhythm section to town--a rejuvenating transfusion for the band--and Appalachian banjo and high-art violin swirls. [May 2009, p.121]
  12. The new rhythm section swerves and stomps harder than ever, making a racket worthy of Wennerstrom's voice--a veritable mountain of sound.
  13. Filter
    The Mountain may not be the repositioning kick-in-the-pants that the Heartless Bastards' peddle it as, but Wennerstorm's Midwestern maelstrom's been assuaged by new members and country/folk memes. [Holiday 2008, p.100]
  14. The Heartless Bastards are much better on the alt side of the alt-country dynamic.
  15. With The Mountain, Heartless Bastards have shown that they have the tools and the talent to take at least tentative steps forward into a more ambitious and diverse sound. But it's surprising that they sound so introspective here when they could, and occasionally do, sound world-beating.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. [Anonymous]
    Mar 17, 2009
    This is the female counterpart to The Black Keys, and they are still signed on the Fat Possum label; well crafted Blues Rock with stunning This is the female counterpart to The Black Keys, and they are still signed on the Fat Possum label; well crafted Blues Rock with stunning vocal work. You won't be disappointed. Full Review »
  2. RickyTheMan
    Mar 9, 2009
    Music (low and behold from the States) that makes you put down your Sonos controller and go out and see a show.
  3. timm
    Feb 25, 2009
    Rocks like few others. Wennerstrom's voice is perfect for this music. Early nominee for record of the year (with AC Newman a close 2nd).