Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

MASTODON

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mastodon picture
Mastodon biography
Founded in Atlanta, USA in 1999

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 experimenta...
read more

MASTODON forum topics / tours, shows & news


MASTODON forum topics Create a topic now
MASTODON tours, shows & news Post an entries now

MASTODON Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all MASTODON videos (5) | Search and add more videos to MASTODON

Buy MASTODON Music



More places to buy MASTODON music online

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)

3.47 | 194 ratings
Remission
2002
3.90 | 362 ratings
Leviathan
2004
3.73 | 355 ratings
Blood Mountain
2006
4.13 | 651 ratings
Crack the Skye
2009
3.69 | 409 ratings
The Hunter
2011
3.68 | 199 ratings
Once More 'round the Sun
2014
3.68 | 112 ratings
Emperor of Sand
2017

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

3.62 | 41 ratings
Live at the Aragon
2011

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

4.09 | 11 ratings
The Workhorse Chronicles: The Early Years 2000-2005
2011

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

3.33 | 33 ratings
Call of the Mastodon
2006
3.08 | 6 ratings
Medium Rarities
2020

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

3.04 | 19 ratings
Lifesblood
2001
3.18 | 15 ratings
Divinations
2009
3.90 | 12 ratings
Oblivion EP
2009
3.19 | 26 ratings
Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP
2010
2.47 | 13 ratings
Curl of the Burl
2011
4.10 | 10 ratings
Black Tongue
2011
3.10 | 34 ratings
Cold Dark Place
2017

MASTODON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crack the Skye by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.13 | 651 ratings

BUY
Crack the Skye
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

5 stars In the ever-expanding and perpetually changing sonic universe of Mastodon, 2009's 'Crack the Skye' stands as a true magnum opus - their most intense work so far, equally emotive, entertaining and resonating, this concept album about a paraplegic who goes astral travelling and experiences several otherworldly events, facing crazy obstacles along the way, like assassins hired by the Russian Czar going after him, while in Rasputin's body, has deservedly received universal acclaim and has become one of the band's best-selling albums to date - a pleasure for the listener, and a masterwork by the Atlanta-based progressive metal quartet, 'Crack the Skye' is one of the 21st century albums that will go down as a classic.

Expanding on the progressive aspect in their sound, the band take the conceptual side and the tight songwriting of 'Blood Mountain', as well as the raw power and heaviness of 'Leviathan' - both very important albums in their development, and 'crank them up to eleven', resulting in their most focused and tightest recording up to that point. Another important event surrounding 'Crack the Skye' is the addition of Brann Dailor as the third lead vocalists, who goes on to sing leads on 'Oblivion' and the title track which happens to be dedicated to his deceased sister, Skye, committing suicide at the age of fourteen - a discouraging and scary event that has surely affected the drummer's work.

The album starts off with 'Oblivion', one of the two songs supporting the album as a single, an epic three-headed hydra of a track, with its distinct verse, pre-chorus and chorus sections, each of which features Dailor, Sanders, and Hinds' vocals, along with a masterful psychedelic-y guitar solo from Brent Hinds; this is also the beginning of the story, where the protagonist leaves his physical body and embarks on his spiritual journey, almost burning his umbilical cord as he flies too close to the sun - the mythological reference is an interesting part of the album's concept. 'Divinations' tells the episode of the protagonist's story where he gets trapped inside a wormhole and his 'spirit is captured' - yes, this also happens to the poor man; as for the song itself, it is the shortest on the album and takes on some country inspirations, as weird as this sounds. 'Quintessence' is another 70s-inspired proggy and heavy track, on which the protagonist continues his spiritual journey, leading to the first big epic, the four-part intense ride that is 'The Czar'. This is also where it gets conceptually even wackier, as the protagonist of the story gets his soul put inside Rasputin's body which means that he has to usurp the Tsar's throne. After he is murdered, the two souls fly away through 'a crack in the skye'; musically, this is one of Mastodon's finest moments, the three main distinct sections are very powerful, well-produced and instantly memorable ? one of the most intriguing 21st century prog metal epics. Then comes 'Ghost of Karelia', a song that might have come directly out of 'Blood Mountain' with its frenzy, acrobatic guitar playing - and on that accord, a side note: the soloing is absolutely excellent all throughout the album, arguably the most imaginative on any Mastodon release. Following this one, is the already-mentioned title track, that features Scott Kelly from Neurosis on lead vocals; the heaviest and obviously most emotional (for Brann Dailor) song on the album. Finishing off is the second big epic, the 13-minute 'The Last Baron' - in-your-face riffs, great vocals, wacky lyrics, and masterful solos, this song has great tonality, it is absolutely memorable; conceptually, it has to do with running away from the devil, after stumbling upon him by chance.

Fifty minutes of intense and profound progressive metal, a really engaging and convincing conceptual piece of work, elevated by the mind-blowing artwork, an aspect in which Mastodon never disappoint. Arguably the best album that this band has created, I believe that 'Crack the Skye' will be universally considered a classic, sooner or later, as many fans and critics have already expressed their admiration to this truly entertaining epic work.

 Medium Rarities by MASTODON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
3.08 | 6 ratings

BUY
Medium Rarities
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars As one may expect from the title, the brand new release from Mastodon is a collection of material which is difficult or impossible to obtain, bringing together cover versions, soundtrack contributions, instrumentals, B-sides, and live recordings on one complete package. This means we get the likes of "A Commotion" (Feist), "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton" (The Flaming Lips), and "Orion" (Metallica) while also featuring soundtrack cuts such as "White Walker" (Game of Thrones), "Cut You Up With A Linoleum Knife" (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and "Rufus Lives" (Bill & Ted Face The Music). If that isn't enough, they also include instrumental versions of "Asleep in the Deep", "Toe To Toes", "Jaguar God" and "Halloween". Given that many of the songs are unavailable elsewhere then this is obviously something that fans are going to be interested in, especially as it includes brand new song "Fallen Torches", which features guest vocals by long-time friend and collaborator Scott Kelly (Neurosis).

Due to the nature of the music contained within this, it is aimed only at Mastodon diehard fans and those people will really enjoy this, yet in reality this is not something which normal punters will rush out to obtain, and rightly so. There are a few numbers which do stand out musically, but overall this is something which many people will listen to once and then go back to the "normal" releases. Rarities albums sometimes produce a few gems, such as Jethro Tull's "Jack A Lynn" and "Coronach" which many people were unaware of until they were put out on such a set, but for most people they can be safely passed by until the next new album comes out, and this falls into that bracket. But if you really did want some of those rarer Mastodon songs then now you can do just that.

 Emperor of Sand by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.68 | 112 ratings

BUY
Emperor of Sand
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars On their 2017 release the quartet released a concept storyline where they want us to contemplate the nature of time. Threading together the myth of a man sentenced to death in a majestically malevolent desert, the band conjures the grains of a musical and lyrical odyssey slipping quickly through a cosmic hourglass. "Emperor Of Sand is like the grim reaper," says drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor. "Sand represents time. If you or anyone you know has ever received a terminal diagnosis, the first thought is about time. Invariably, you ask, 'How much time is left?'" "We're reflecting on mortality," adds bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders. "To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It's 17 years in the making, but it's also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives."

Although it may seem that this would lead the album musically into darker territory, it is actually somewhat lighter than its predecessors, still capturing the Mastodon sound but at times it is more akin to hard rock than metal, while sludge is less prominent than previously. Instead they are mixing and blending complex ideas with guitar lines that sometimes have Eastern tinges, while Dailor is producing some of the most melodic vocals of his career. "Steambreather" is a case in point where instead of getting heavier it actually lightens up during the bridge even though Dailor is also blasting around the kit. "Precious Stones" is another fine example of the band playing with light and dark, as while it is lighter for the most part the final bars show the band crunching out the definitive Mastodon sound and then stopping dead.

The subject matter of the album may not be the most pleasant for people to think about, but the music has definitely taken on a less brutal and more melodic aspect while still staying true to their roots. More progressive and less metallic, this is another great release.

 Once More 'round the Sun by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 199 ratings

BUY
Once More 'round the Sun
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars This 2014 album was the sixth from Mastodon, following on some three years from 2011's acclaimed 'The Hunter'. Although I originally missed out on the debut, I clearly remember when I was sent their 2004 release 'Leviathan' and the impact it had on me. Back then they were in all the music magazines but moving to New Zealand just a few years later meant I lost track of what they were doing and it is only now that I am starting to revisit the catalogue. There are few bands who manage to stay together throughout their career, but the line-up on this one was the same as on the debut (and actually still is today), namely Troy Sanders (bass, vocals), Brent Hinds (guitar, vocals), Bill Kelliher (guitar) and Brann Dailor (drums). Over the years they have become renowned for their attention to detail, and how they mix many forms of metal to create something which is uniquely theirs. This means they can be playing something which is more akin to sludge and then surprise everyone with some incredibly melodic guitar twin harmonies which is totally out of character for what is happening musically yet also fits in perfectly. Then over the top of it all there are the dual lead vocals which add yet more melody to what is an incredibly heavy band.

But they are also not afraid to show what inspires them, and when listening to the title cut, one cannot help but be taken back to the Seventies, although in a far heavier and bass-led fashion. This song also contains samples of Lizzy's "Cowboy Song", and one wonders if this was a premonition of things to come given that bassist Sanders was asked to join that band for some live shows five years later. This is progressive metal in that there is a real refusal to accept boundaries or norms, creating music very much on their own terms, no compromise whatsoever yet somehow they create something which is incredibly easy to listen to and enjoy on the very first time of hearing. It is powerful and aggressive, yet with a layer of polish and versatility which belies the force of what is going on underneath. While it may not have the immediate impact of 'Leviathan' one can see why this is such highly regarded release and I am certainly glad that I have finally remade my acquaintance with the band.

 Remission by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.47 | 194 ratings

BUY
Remission
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by progtime1234567

3 stars Mastodon's first album is in my opinion their heaviest and it got them off on the right foot. Remission is very heavy, with there being no clean vocals and there being lots of very heavy drop A riffs. Fire is a concept on the album, as Mastodon's first four albums have an elemental them going on with them, with this on being fire. It is also about drummer Brann Dailor's sister, who committed suicide, which is where the album title comes from as the album helped the drummer cope with her death. Sad stories aside, the album is very sludge metal like, and it even has some thrash metal like moments going on too. The progressive rock influence also exists, with songs like Trainwreck and Ole' Nessie slowing down and showing the other side to the band.

With very heavy riffs, distorted bass, jazz-like crazy drumming, and non-stop screaming, Remission should appeal to any fan. I wouldn't start with this album as an introduction to Mastodon, but nevertheless, it is a pretty good album.

 Emperor of Sand by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.68 | 112 ratings

BUY
Emperor of Sand
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars In the years following Mastodon's all-time prog metal masterpiece, 2009's 'Crack the Skye', Mastodon's output focused on perfecting their propensity for heavy hitting and catchy sludgy riff metal. While the two albums from that period were acclaimed by the heavy metal community generally, they had let their prog fans out in the cold. 2018's 'Emperor of Sand' was the band's attempt to rectify this. A concept album, the lyrics and music of 'Emperor' were inspired by a string of cancer related deaths amongst band members' family and friends. Similar to 'Crack the Skye,' 'Emperor' tells a daring and fantastical story that doubles as an exploration of the band members' deep-seated fears and emotions during that period of their lives. Musically, the album comes out swinging with slamming riffs while eventually segueing into songs with more experimental sounding licks and emotionally heavier choruses. For the prog metal world, 'Emporer of Sand' is a truly welcomed return to form for Mastodon.
 Leviathan by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.90 | 362 ratings

BUY
Leviathan
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars Atlanta's MASTODON made quite the thundering debut with 2002's "Remission," an album that sounded like a herd of ancient pachyderms rampaging across the Siberian tundra en masse with such force that the very ground below them quaked and split the continents in two. The album introduced a new kind of progressive sludge to the metal universe and excelled at creating murky dark soundscapes that added touches of suffocating atmospheric gloom and doom. The story of MASTODON has been pretty much that it incrementally at a snail's pace slinked into more accessible stylistic approaches that would de-emphasize the chaotic paranoia and settle into more streamlined even melodic approaches. This trend began all the way back on the group's second full-length release LEVIATHAN.

It's more accurate to state that the band made some tradeoffs. While jettisoning the fear porn of the debut, the band instead adopted characteristics of the progressive world and on LEVIATHAN the band's very first concept album was born which was loosely based on Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick. While taming the wild antics of the debut album, LEVIATHAN by no means slowed things down and continued a rampaging parade of ten sonic attacks of sonic ferocity well intact. Decorated with more progressive compositional workouts and tight consistent instrumental interplay, LEVIATHAN was the album that saw the band taking both the progressive and metal world's by storm and catapulted the band into the big boys' club. Laced with the raging angst of hardcore crust punk and the ambitiousness of tech metal wankery, MASTODON hit the scene like a derailed train colliding with an anvil factory.

With the first hard-hitting riffs of "Blood And Thunder," MASTODON sets the tone for LEVIATHAN that never lets up until the bitter end. Laced with venomous guitar distortion and interchange of Brent Hinds' and Bill Kelliher's dual double axe attack, MASTODON takes the timbre-based sinew of sludge metal and coerces it into performing technical gymnastics that subtly sneak in and steer the aggressive assaults into more advanced creatures. The tracks seamlessly blend together with an idiosyncratic series of riffing made all the more outrageous by Brann Dailor's approach of alternating the lazy slug drumming experience in the Eyehategod school of drumming along with more tech infused jazzy outbursts. Brett Hinds also delivers his madman vocal approach from under the cacophonous din of the relentless tempo drives save the short instrumental contrasts as heard on the intro and subsections of "Seabeast."

Another interesting factor and what ties the band's first four albums together is that each one symbolizes one of the four elements of tetralogy. While "Remission" was not a concept album, it was still considered to have the theme of the element of fire. LEVIATHAN therefore not surprisingly represents the water element however the turbulent paths forged throughout this relentless metal madness is more like the Drake's passage between South America and Antarctica which is known to have the most devastating channels and highest waves on the entire planet. Of interest as well is the stunning artwork on the album cover created by Paul Romano which is a revamped version of Martin Heemskerck's 16th century interpretation of the "Pharos of Alexandria" as well as the wave representing Hokusai's "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa." It's also notable that the vinyl edition has a different track listing with "I Am Ahab" and "Island" appearing toward the end of the album, presumably so that the tracks could be spaced out more cozily.

Of the ten tracks on board, "Heart's Alive" exercises the band's complete progressive workouts and at 13 and a half minutes runs the gamut of tender arpeggiated sequences to galloping metal fury and a healthy dose of Viking metal mythos as well as NWOBHM sensibilities. While Brent Hinds is the clear lead vocalist of the band, on LEVIATHAN, Neil Fallon picks up the task on the opening "Blood And Thunder" and Scott Kelly likewise on "Aqua Dementia," but you know what? They all growl alike so it's unlikely you could tell the difference anyways. "Aqua" also has a cello cameo and the final instrumental features organ by Joseph Merrick who strangely has the track named after him. Some kind of endorsement scheme here? My mind is so suspicious. Back to "Hearts Alive." Despite it being the longest track it doesn't seem to make the most of the progressive opportunities and actually becomes a big stagnant, however LEVIATHAN is an outrageously fun romp through the world of stampede style sludge metal with a few progressive candles channeling the spirits of technical wizardry. A great album that continues the band's unique style.

 Leviathan by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.90 | 362 ratings

BUY
Leviathan
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by progtime1234567

4 stars If you're looking for great sludgy, progressive metal, then Mastodon is the band for you. Leviathan is their second studio album and it is a great one too. There is a lot of screaming, jazz influenced drumming, downtuned guitars, and distorted bass, what's not to love. Songs like Blood and thunder and the long and proggy Hearts Alive are some of the best songs. There is also the addition of clean vocals, which were absent in the previous album.

If you like stoner rock, sludge metal, doom metal, progressive metal, and even more mainstream metal, you will find this album instantly enjoyable as it is very good.

 Crack the Skye by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.13 | 651 ratings

BUY
Crack the Skye
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by progtime1234567

5 stars Finally something to meet the tastes of a prog elitist, or does it? It shouldn't matter because the album is a great metal album. I personally believe that Mastodon is a very progressive band, others may not think that, but regardeless it is a great metal album. Crack the Skye is very heavy as usual with Mastodon albums but it is also calm and melodic at some points. Songs like Oblivion and The Czar are some of Mastodon's greatest songs in their catalog. The album is a concept album as it is about a man who went into a coma and his soul left his physical body and began astral traveling and time traveling, going back to Czarist Russia. His family thinks he is dead as his body is lifeless because his soul left his body. At this point it is unclear whether or not he returned to his body or anything like that, which leaves it up to the listener to decide.

Crack the Skye is an excellent progressive metal and sludge metal album. I recommend it to anyone who likes progressive metal or sludge metal, and just so you know, just because Mastodon is a bigger and more mainstream metal band doesn't mean they aren't good. They are great!

 Emperor of Sand by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.68 | 112 ratings

BUY
Emperor of Sand
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Mastodon returned to their roots with this release!

And in the attempt of achieving their most classical sound, they worked with the legendary producer Brendan O'Brien. So the sound of the album is pure Mastodon. Sharp, complex, with piercing guitars and a bit hoarser vocals than in albums like Once More Round the Sun and Crack the Skye. Not a single complaint about the production, then.

But the problem with this album is that the songwriting is again subpar after the excellent Once More Round the Sound. A pair of really good songs are mixed with forgettable ones which bring nothing new to the band's career. And that's my concern with Emperor of Sand. It is a good Mastodon album, but also their most predictable and generic release.

Best Tracks: Sultan's Curse (a song which retrieves the power of Leviathan), Ancient Kingdom (dramatic and epic) and Jaguar God (their most progressive song since Crack the Skye)

Conclusion: Emperor of Sand is a minor disappointment after the superior Once More Round the Sun. And despite being than other albums like Blood Mountain and The Hunter, it does not reach the four star rating mainly because the lack of new ideas and some forgettable songs.

My rating: ***

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.