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MASTODON

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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Mastodon biography
MASTODON was formed in 1999 when Brann Dailor (drums) and Bill Kelliher (guitars),former members of TODAY IS THE DAY and LETHARGY emmigrated to Atlanta from their native Rochester,New York and met Brent Hinds (guitars,vocals) and Troy Sanders (bass,vocals).In 2000 they recorded a demo that is referred to as the "9 song demo",which actually featured the bands first lead singer Eric Saner on vocals.This recording was remastered and released by Relapse Records with the title "Call of the Mastodon" in 2006.After a short time Saner left the band due to personal reasons and MASTODON signed with Relapse in 2001.

The bands first official release was the well received "Lifesblood" EP in 2001,but since then the band has moved away from the music of this release stylistically.In 2002 MASTODON released their first official full-length album "Remission".

2004 heralded the release of Leviathan,a concept album loosely based on Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick.This is the album that steers MASTODON'S music away from the sludge/post-hardcore sound and sees the band experimenting and becoming more progressive.It is impressively well constructed,with each song flowing into the next,giving it a very natural feel.With slower,chunkier riffs,odd-time rhythms,cleaner vocals and a better production,it also contains a bona-fide epic with the 13 minute track "Hearts Alive".This album is literally driven by Dailor's hyperactive,fill-happy jazz/progressive style melded seamlessly with Sanders bass work,Kelliher's and Hinds' intricate and complex riffs and Sander's and Hind's alternating clean and growling vocals to tell the tale.

In 2005 two forthcoming releases were announced,the aforementioned "Call of the Mastodon",and the "The Workhorse Chronicles",a DVD containing interviews and concert footage,including material from the band's early days as a five-piece.Both were released in 2006.This effectively ended MASTODON'S deal with Relapse Records.

In 2006 MASTODON released their third full-length album "Blood Mountain",which was originally planned as one long piece of music,but which later became a collection of individual songs rather than another full blown concept album.The album contains guest appearances from NEUROSIS vocalist Scott Kelly,QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE'S Josh Homme and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of THE MARS VOLTA.

MASTODON'S greatest strength is their ability to explore the progressive and experimental side of the metal coin while keeping t...
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Crack the Skye [Vinyl]Crack the Skye [Vinyl]
Reprise 2009
$14.97
$16.98 (used)
Emperor Of SandEmperor Of Sand
Reprise 2017
$10.78
$5.13 (used)
Blood MountainBlood Mountain
Reprise 2006
$4.92
$2.69 (used)
Cold Dark PlaceCold Dark Place
Reprise 2017
$5.54
$7.22 (used)
LeviathanLeviathan
Relapse 2005
$8.95
$3.97 (used)
Once More 'Round The SunOnce More 'Round The Sun
Reprise 2014
$9.77
$4.41 (used)
The HunterThe Hunter
Reprise 2011
$10.04
$4.06 (used)
Remission Deluxe ReissueRemission Deluxe Reissue
Relapse 2014
$9.55
$7.51 (used)
Call Of The MastodonCall Of The Mastodon
Remastered
Relapse 2006
$9.54
$4.95 (used)
Asleep In The Deep (12Asleep In The Deep (12" Vinyl Picture Disc)
Reprise 2015
$10.89
$17.23 (used)
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MASTODON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MASTODON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.49 | 179 ratings
Remission
2002
3.89 | 330 ratings
Leviathan
2004
3.72 | 339 ratings
Blood Mountain
2006
4.10 | 599 ratings
Crack The Skye
2009
3.70 | 394 ratings
The Hunter
2011
3.65 | 180 ratings
Once More 'Round The Sun
2014
3.71 | 84 ratings
Emperor Of Sand
2017

MASTODON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.59 | 40 ratings
Live at the Aragon
2011

MASTODON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 10 ratings
The Workhorse Chronicles: The Early Years, 2000 - 2005
2011

MASTODON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 31 ratings
Call Of The Mastodon
2006

MASTODON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.03 | 18 ratings
Lifesblood
2001
3.16 | 13 ratings
Divinations
2009
3.80 | 11 ratings
Oblivion EP
2009
3.19 | 26 ratings
Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP
2010
2.50 | 11 ratings
Curl of the Burl
2011
4.25 | 8 ratings
Black Tongue
2011
2.98 | 26 ratings
Cold Dark Place
2017

MASTODON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Hunter by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.70 | 394 ratings

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The Hunter
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Sadly, The Hunter was the confirmation that Mastodon are an irregular band!

After the just good Remission they released the excellent Leviathan, and after the disappointing Blood Mountain they achieved to create a true masterpiece with Crack the Skye. And what's with The Hunter? Just another letdown.

The album is not bad, but it was their most commercial yet and although that's not necessarily bad, the simpler songwriting and the short length of the songs was kind of weird after the progressive masterpiece than Crack the Skye was, and that became their music much more conventional, predictable and boring.

And that's my main problem with The Hunter. It was the first Mastodon album that bored me despite its intention to be more varied with its mellower tracks like The Hunter or The Sparrow (very boring ones) and the happy feelings of songs like Blasteroid and Stargasm.

Best Tracks: Black Tongue (a return to the fierce moments of Leviathan), Dry Bone Valley (simple, but good), The Creature Lives (rather strange, but different and catchy)

Conclusion: The Hunter was a strange change of direction for Mastodon. They abandoned the power of their first two albums and the experimentations and prog of their third and fourth records to release a much more conventional disc, much happier and radio friendly. But sadly, they became boring and predictable in the process. And that's a pity for a band so groundbreaking like Mastodon.

Nevertheless, the album is not entirely bad, and it has a pair of brilliant moments. But coming from a band which released wonderful albums like Leviathan and Crack the Sky, that's not enough.

My rating: ***

 Crack The Skye by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 599 ratings

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Crack The Skye
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After their good debut album Remission, the excellent Leviathan and the bit disappointing Blood Mountain, Mastodon finally achieved true greatness with Crack the Skye!!!

This album is the perfect mix of all that this band made before adding an extra prog layer to their music, containing this album true epic progressive masterpieces like The Czar and The Last Baron, mixed with incredibly good shorter tracks with the typical Mastodon eerie sound and insanely good instrumental work but also more accessible.

It's hard to explain because this album really has everything that this band has to offer condensed in a single record but more progressive than ever, making it a true masterpiece of modern prog-metal.

Best Tracks: there is no fillers here, but I specially love the longer ones.

Conclusion: Crack the Skye is an amazing album from start to finish. The band achieved a perfect mixture between technique and accessibility, power and progression, brutality and melody, making this album a clear peak in their career.

Sadly, although Mastodon maintained always a good level of quality in their music, they have been not able to regain the magic of Crack the Skye in another album yet.

My rating: *****

 Remission by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.49 | 179 ratings

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Remission
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Debut full length of the Atlanta's kings of trash-death-technical-prog-metal!!!

This album contains the typical hoarse vocals of Troy Sanders and his saturated bass playing, great and technical guitar playing by Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher, and the well-known amazing drumming by Brann Dailor and tons of heavy and progressive tracks.

Sadly, the songwriting is not so compelling like in the similar but much better Leviathan or the proggier Crack the Skye, making this record a bit dull in the long term despite some tracks where the band tries to make something differing like the sludge-prog Trilobite and the much more melodic and very interesting Elephant Man.

Best Tracks: March of the Fire Ants (typical Mastodon power), Where Strides the Behemoth (great riffs and a classic in live concerts), Trilobite (one of the most progressive tracks of the album with excellent guitars on it) and Elephant Man (melancholic and meditative guitar work, which shows the band's versatility which would make them great in the future)

Conclusion: this first album of Mastodon is much in the vein of the later Leviathan, but with a songwriting which is not so refined yet and some repetitive ideas which makes the hearing of the album a bit boring in the long term.

So, although Remission is a good tech-metal album with some killer tracks and passages on it, if you are new to Mastodon, I would recommend you to start with one of their later albums!

My rating: ***

 Cold Dark Place by MASTODON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
2.98 | 26 ratings

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Cold Dark Place
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars It is said that this EP originally was conceived as a Brent Hinds solo album. Die-hard MASTODON fans might be disappointed or maybe even upset. No reason to be biased though, as this is my first encounter with the band, for what I can remember. And, if well crafted, I do like such stuff in general. Anyway, heavy prog songs are given here, the focus is more on melody and atmosphere instead of shredding, brachial, thrashy metal riffs. Well, this move is not really surprisingly new, other bands like Opeth or Pain Of Salvation are brothers in arms here. Who really is keen on being repetitive in style again and again? And so the opening song North Side Star delivers a somewhat southern rock style, amongst other things due to the use of a pedal steel guitar.

The title track even unfolds a slight psychedelic orientation, multiple acoustic and electric guitar input plus extraordinary solo right towards the end. Super! If there is a minus ever, unfortunately the cover picture is too much darkened when it comes to me. Yes, this matches to the global design according to the album title. But you are not really able to explore the painting's expensive details, too bad. Though the main conclusion is that 'Cold Dark Place' offers four enjoyable songs in a highly melodic heavy rocking manner, coming closer to bands like Magnum, Tiles, Zip Tang instead of genuine prog metal. 3.5 stars.

 Cold Dark Place by MASTODON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
2.98 | 26 ratings

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Cold Dark Place
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars Following 2017's full release album "Emperor Of The Sand," Atlanta based sludge metal outfit MASTODON gave hardcore fans another slice of their unreleased material on this four track EP titled COLD DARK PLACE which came out in September digitally and on CD but also as a limited edition ten-inch vinyl edition that came out at the end of October 2017.

COLD DARK PLACE is basically the leftover tracks from the band's last two album session. "North Side Star," "Blue Walsh" and the title track all date back to 2014 from the "Once More 'Round The Sun" sessions and "Toe To Toes" comes from the latest "Emperor Of Sand" sessions.

There is nothing on this EP that you wouldn't expect. Nothing here is experimental or out of the parameters of the band's established style that was displayed on the retrospective albums that these were initially recorded for. MASTODON has been toning down the heaviness in their music ever since the 2011 album "The Hunter" and COLD DARK PLACE shows the band continuing their journey into less metal territory with more emphasis on progressive rock.

While most tracks are on the borderline of progressive rock and metal, "Toe To Toes" is exceptionally mellow for MASTODON's overall sound. There are more clean vocals displayed on this EP than on any proper album. Overall i'm not too keen on MASTODON's direction that they've been going.

While metal bands mellowing out and going prog rock isn't anything new or something i'm against in any way, MASTODON seems to be getting stale with super predictable tunes that cruise on auto pilot. This EP is okay with nothing being offensive but i find it quite boring compared to the greatness they unleashed a decade ago.

2.5 but rounded DOWN!!!

 Crack The Skye by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 599 ratings

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Crack The Skye
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

5 stars My familiarity with Mastodon began in 2012 when I knew they were a big thing in heavy metal at the time but wasn't familiar with their body of work. Flash forward 6 years, and I've grown more well-versed in their work. Enough to figure out kind of a pattern. Every one of their albums seems to slip at some point with a mediocre or forgettable riff that tends to ruin the flow of the album. I don't know quite what it is, but every time I listen to a Mastodon album, some part of it tends to daydream and dips in quality making the album lesser than what it could be given the power and talent of the band.

Every album except this one. This is an all-killer, no-filler album and their magnum opus.

If you want to know why Mastodon is considered a progressive metal band, Crack the Skye is the definitive argument. They've made epics before, experimented with time signatures and toyed with lofty concepts before, but not in the grand scale like this before or since. By far, it is one of the most cinematically epic sounding ablums the genre has given the world, and it matches the ridiculous concept.

To give you an idea of the storyline behind the album, the first track along describes an Icarus situation (winged man flies too close to the sun which melts his wings, but with a umbilical cord in this case) crossed with astral projection that ends up falling into a black hole. Later on in the story, the title character ends up in Imperialist Russia possessing Rasputin. It is mammothly absurd, and if the music didn't hold up the pretense of the story, this would have been a disaster.

That's where the majore success of Crack the Skye lies. It's hard to describe the riffs on the album as anything other than cinematic. The lower-end riffs that stay true to the band's sludge metal roots are as delightfully mucky as ever, always melodious even with the distortion well up. Still, there are plenty of higher pitched guitar lines that balance perfectly with the swampy bottom. Special mention goes to drummer Brann Dailor for being the most obviously virtuoso musician on the album as barely a song goes by without a crazy fill, yet he always seems to find a way to keep the rhythm in check so the drumming performances stay clear of over-indulgence. There are your traditional guitar solos speckled throughout the album, but the songs are pieced together so well that the solos are merely icing on the cake as opposed to the main course. The command of tempo is worth mentioning as (the secret word of the review is "balanced") the band is able to balance out slower, shuffling songs with more breakneck metal songs. The epics can either have excellent, smooth tempo changes or chug the riffs faster to fool the listener.

Prog fans will find more solace in the two longer epics ("The Czar" and "The Last Baron"), but every song is a gem. There's a great contrast of shorter, to-the-point statements you can listen to repeatedly in one sitting mixing in with the larger scale epics to feel like a full listening experience. It's what makes "The Last Baron" far more enjoyable. As a stand-alone song, it's still great, but there's something about listening to it after going through the rest of the album that magnifies the piece. Great albums can make their closing statement that much better when the journey to get to it is equally captivating. It feels so fulfilling to go through the whole album and to hear the swinging tempo at the end.

Without question, this is one of the greatest progressive metal albums to hit the mainstream market. If you want a full 45-minute epic metal gorgefest or need a solid riff or five to headbang to, get Crack the Skye. This is way above the pedestal of sameness that modern metal often gets chided for. If you love progressive metal, this should not be missed. A masterpiece without question.

 Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP by MASTODON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
3.19 | 26 ratings

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Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP" is an EP release by US metal act Mastodon and the official score for the Jimmy Hayward directed film "Jonah Hex (2010)". The EP was released digitally through Reprise Records in June 2010. The making of the EP turned out to be a bit more painful than planned, as the bandīs first attempt to write music for the film was shelved, as original soundtrack composer/arranger John Powell had to leave the project, after being handed Mastodonīs material, and new composer/arranger Marco Beltrami wanted something less heavy and a bit more subtle. So Mastodon had to start from scratch, and paired with the fact that they were in the middle of a major world tour, the band felt a bit stressed out by the situation.

As always Mastodon delivers a professional product though. This time fully instrumental and generally more ambient and less heavy than what weīre used to from their side, but still quite intriguing and as the case is with the slow building opener "Death March", quite ominous sounding too. Iīm sometimes reminded of a contemporary and slightly heavier version of the most dark material from the "More (1969)" soundtrack by Pink Floyd. The EP features four tracks, and two alternate versions of the two opening tracks "Death March" and "Clayton Boys" summing up to a total of six tracks and a full playing time of 32:46 minutes.

Although the music doesnīt feature vocals, and itīs a bit more slow building and ambient in style than usual for Mastodon, itīs still unmistakably the sound of the band. "Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP" is also as well produced and well performed as any other release by the band, and while the soundtrack nature of the material makes it a bit less interesting compared to their "regular" releases, the EP is still a quality product by Mastodon deserving a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

 Emperor Of Sand by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.71 | 84 ratings

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Emperor Of Sand
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Emperor Of Sand" is the 7th full-length studio album by US metal act Mastodon. The album was released through Reprise Records in March 2017. Itīs the successor to "Once More 'Round the Sun" from 2014. The band have created a conceptual piece which deals with mortality/fatal illness (the band members have revealed in interviews that the cancer illness of friends and family have served as inspiration), but on a metaphorical level telling the story of a desert wanderer who has been sentenced to death.

Stylistically the material on "Emperor Of Sand" continue the more accessible melodic direction of "Once More 'Round the Sun (2014)". Itīs still unmistakably the sound of Mastodon, featuring their relatively unique riffing style, heavy bass, Brann Dailorīs energetic drumming, and the different vocal styles, ranging from raw to various clean vocal styles. Itīs heavy music, but although the occasional sludgy moment occurs, the music is sometimes closer to heavy rock than it is to metal. Itīs safe to say Mastodon have changed a lot since their early progressive sludge metal days. It should be noted though that the music is still occasionally progressive in structure and style. The closing "Jaguar God" (which is one of the highlights of the album) is an example of that.

The music features a nice organic tone which is further backed by the warm organic sound production. The material is well written and in most cases the tracks are relatively catchy and memorable too. Mastodon still make their audience work though, and although there are a couple of pretty accessible melodic tracks featured on the album (the melody to "Show Yourself" is stuck in my head), there are also some which require more than one listen to sink in.

So upon conclusion "Emperor Of Sand" is another quality release by Mastodon, and the only real issue I can come up with, is that there is little on this album, the band havenīt already tried and done on the predecessors. So itīs not exactly a groundbreaking release as far as their discography goes. Less will do though, and "Emperor Of Sand" is still a damn solid release deserving a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating.

 Emperor Of Sand by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.71 | 84 ratings

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Emperor Of Sand
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars As the 21st century unapologetically churns out one decade after the next, the heavy metal universe seems like its in no hurry to disappear with bands becoming more popular worldwide and seeing no end in sight. Come 2017 and the Georgia, USA based band MASTODON releases its seventh studio album which hit number 7 on the US Billboard charts after a three year gap from their "fruit monster" album "Once More Around The Sun." EMPEROR OF THE SAND pretty much picks up musically where that album left off and finds the band collaborating with producer Brendon O'Brien who finessed the audio pleasures in 2009's "Crack The Skye." Once again the Neurosis connection firmly connects MASTODON to the world of sludge metal with Scott Kelly once again contributing guest vocals on "Scorpion Breath" and "Andromeda." EMPEROR OF SAND is actually a concept album about the death sentence of a nomadic desert wanderer which was inspired by loved ones who were recently diagnosed with cancer. This album, lyrically speaking, is about soul searching and the horrible realizations of mortality which makes this extremely personal in nature.

While firmly based in a progressive sludge metal sound that emerged from the beginning, MASTODON began to de-emphasize the progressive aspects of their music beginning on "The Hunter" and pretty much continues the trend on EMPEROR OF SAND. For anyone familiar with "The Hunter" and the next album "Once More 'Round The Sun," then this one will come as no shock since this is virtually a retread of those albums complete with the lead vocals and crazy percussion talents of Brann Dailor, the rhythmic guitar sludge of Bill Keiliher, the lead guitar counterpoints of Brent Hinds and the downtuned bass guitar brilliance of Troy Sanders. The band sound as sharp as ever with all the heaviness you would expect in their unique brand of the heavy metal universe and as always they deliver their catchy off-kilter yet totally accessible stamp on the world of sludge metal with an energetic delivery and percussive scaffolding unlike any other band in the metal world.

EMPEROR OF SAND is yet another very well crafted MASTODON album with all the expected riffs, vocals and percussive accompaniments. While that may sound like a sort of comfort food for some, it is also a source of mediocrity to others. MASTODON effectively carves out a very accessible radio-friendly album with the eleven songs crafted on EMPEROR OF SAND that despite having a conceptual lyrically wrapping around the package unfortunately fail to distinguish themselves adequately in the music department. Unlike previous MASTODON albums, this one literally sound the same from beginning to end despite nothing being terribly inadequate in any particular way. The problem for me with MASTODON is that they simply lack that special magic that graced the first four albums that when listened to in comparison to this, simply blow the last three albums away. MASTODON has obviously settled on cruising along on auto-pilot at this stage of their career for whatever reasons ($ perhaps?)

If their last two albums appealed to you, then you will find this as attractive as those however if you long for the days when MASTODON was an utterly unique and distinguished band that defied the trends of the day, then i'm sorry to say that this doesn't hold a candle to albums such as "Leviathon" or "Crack The Skye." EMPEROR OF SAND is very formulaic and MASTODON-by-the- numbers despite being a well performed sludge metal album with progressive accouterments. While there is nothing particularly bad about this newest offering, it does seem that it nonchalantly covers territories already tread upon. I, for one, would prefer something a bit more experimental taking them into new territories and that doesn't necessarily mean playing tuba covers of Nancy Sinatra songs. It simply means that they take their music to the next level. That is not the case on EMPEROR OF SAND where they seem to be coasting on cruise control. Still though, a pleasant enough album to freewheel through despite not really dishing out anything remotely unexpected.

3.5 rounded down

 Emperor Of Sand by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.71 | 84 ratings

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Emperor Of Sand
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Their best (read "proggiest") since "Crack The Skye"? Rightfully so. Gone are the bangers like "Motherload" and "Curl of the Burl"... wait, they're actually not! While the opener "Sultan's Curse" is 100% 2006-2009 MASTODON, the very next one, a 3-min long "Show Yourself" is the guys at their poppiest, spreading them hooks left and right.

For "Crack The Skye" fans there are mini-epics like "Roots Remain" and "Jaguar God", for die-hard metalheads (hadn't they given up on the band like three albums ago?) there's an obligatory Scott Kelly feature on a bombastic "Scorpion Breath", and so on and so forth. Unfortunately it gets MASTODON-by-numbers on tracks 6 through 9, and those would've worked way better as a single 10-12-min long epic - though I doubt they'd be playing it live then, ha! Anyway, a nice return to form for the quartet with a near-perfect balance of good songs and proggy tricks.

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the artist addition.

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