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MASTODON

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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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...
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MASTODON discography


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

3.46 | 217 ratings
Remission
2002
3.91 | 387 ratings
Leviathan
2004
3.76 | 376 ratings
Blood Mountain
2006
4.15 | 683 ratings
Crack the Skye
2009
3.68 | 428 ratings
The Hunter
2011
3.68 | 215 ratings
Once More 'round the Sun
2014
3.68 | 135 ratings
Emperor of Sand
2017
3.79 | 87 ratings
Hushed and Grim
2021

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 | 36 ratings
Call of the Mastodon
2006
3.22 | 13 ratings
Medium Rarities
2020

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

3.03 | 20 ratings
Lifesblood
2001
3.17 | 16 ratings
Divinations
2009
3.86 | 13 ratings
Oblivion EP
2009
3.21 | 26 ratings
Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP
2010
2.48 | 14 ratings
Curl of the Burl
2011
4.00 | 11 ratings
Black Tongue
2011
3.22 | 39 ratings
Cold Dark Place
2017

MASTODON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hushed and Grim by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 87 ratings

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Hushed and Grim
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Hushed and Grim" is the 8th full-length studio album by US progresive/sludge/heavy metal act Mastodon. The album was released through Reprise Records in October 2021. Itīs the successor to "Emperor of Sand" from 2017 and itīs the bandīs first double album (although such a description almost doesnīt make sense anymore in these digital release times), featuring no less than 15 tracks and a total playing time of 86:17 minutes. Itīs a lot of material and probably a result of the long recording and touring break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. They wouldnīt be the first act to have been extra creative during those special circumstances.

"Hushed and Grim" features a progressive metal sound that is unmistakably the sound of Mastodon (although at its least heavy itīs closer to alternative rock than metal). The busy, organic, and innovative drumming, the distinct sounding guitar riffs (lots of open string chords), and the vocal style. Mastodon used to play a far more aggressive and technically challenging progressive sludge metal style, but the last many albums have featured a more accessible, melodic, and sometimes even laid back style of music. Mastodon can still deliver the occassionally harder edged, heavy, and raw section, but itīs almost always accompanied by a memorable melodic chorus, a mellow psychadelic tinged section, or an adventourus progressive structured part. The fact that the album features lead vocals by three of the four members (and backing vocals by guitarist Bill Kelliher), makes the vocal part of the album relatively varied. While itīs not the dominant vocal style anymore, there at still some pretty raw vocals on the album, but the vocals are often more mellow, melodic, and laid back in nature.

Pick any individual track from "Hushed and Grim", and youīll find that any track you pick is a quality composition, but to my ears 15 tracks and a total playing time of 86:17 minutes are an excess of material and playing time, and the album does overstay its welcome when listened to in one sitting. The album is a quality product in every other way, featuring brilliant musical performances, adventurous songwriting, and a powerful and detailed sound production, so other than the fact that Mastodon should probably have shown restraint and culled a few tracks from the album, "Hushed and Grim" is still an enjoyable listen and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Hushed and Grim by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 87 ratings

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Hushed and Grim
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DangHeck

3 stars As a testament to how out of hand my queue of albums has gotten, I'm finally getting to the latest release by Prog Metal giants Mastodon. Released back in October of last year, Hushed and Grim is their first album in 4 years--if I'm not mistaken, the longest amount of time between any two releases for them. [I'm realizing only now that I actually completely missed the other 2017 release when it came out, their EP Cold Dark Place. This will be rectified ASAP.] A double album at about an hour and a half long, this is a big'n... [Methinks too 'big'. See my final thoughts below. Plenty of great material on here, and I hope my notes are of assistance to future listeners.]

Opening the affair, we have "Pain with an Anchor", driving and immediate. It features numerous lead vocals. Heavy, melodic, balanced, and atop it all, a killer solo.

The track "Sickle and Peace" has a very nice, sort of hypnotic main guitar melody. Decent bridge.

"More Than I Could Chew" starts off with a classic Proggy, spacy and most creepy Mellotron. Keyboards were performed by Stone Giant's João Nogueira, most recently involved with The Claypool Lennon Delirium! Sweet main riff and melody this'n. Epic.

"The Beast" starts off with a very... country twang? Very very interesting choice; frankly unfamiliar territory coming from Mastodon. It's pretty actually. Very unique sound. Couldn't not mention it. I can't say some people aren't going to hate it. Around minute 2 is a pretty sizeable shift. Great rhythm here. Given the weird(?) start, a surprise favorite for me!

"Teardrinker" was... alright. It had a pretty interesting synth(?) solo. Just a sound you don't hear too too often in the scope of Prog Metal, if I can say anything. The performance in the latter half was pretty spectacular from all camps, so it's a shame it's not a great song in and of itself--weird it's the... top(?!) played song from the album on Spotify(?!). Whatever haha. I will never pretend to understand the tastes, desires and expectations of 'your average listener'. [Wow. I sound like a dickhead, don't I?]

The starting riff on "Peace and Tranquility": Wow. Always impressed by Brent. Overall a very nice song. Plenty in the office of instrumental excellence and great melody to offer. I mean, honestly, it keeps on giving. Best song on the album? I think so.

"Eyes of Serpents" nearly satisfied, but didn't quite get there. Not much going on on this'n, not to mention the numerous tracks throughout that I purposefully did not mention.

The final track is "Gigantium", a big swelling song (I suppose 'gigantic', sure haha), in classic Mastodon style. Actually quite lovely melodically speaking.

If anything, this album has proved as a nice step in their discography and creative output, but I must say, it strikes me as a tad too long. Ambition shouldn't always be met with a pat on the back haha. Plenty of great moments on here and if they would have been released as an EP, just those few songs, it would have been their best haha.

Best I can offer them is a True Rate of 3.5/5.0. At best.

 Cold Dark Place by MASTODON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
3.22 | 39 ratings

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Cold Dark Place
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by eduardico21

4 stars I usually consider Cold Dark Place more of a Brent Hinds solo album with the helping hand of his band companions than a Mastodon album. It is clear since the first notes of "North Side Star" that these are songs written by Hinds, and there were even rumours at the time that said this EP was meant to be a solo album by him.

The most famous song from this work is "Toe to Toes", which I find to be the worst of the bunch. It has a very nice guitar solo but that's all for me. It reminds me a lot of what they did on The Hunter, and that's the only Mastodon album that I don't like. On the other side, all the other songs are absolute bangers. I really enjoy "Blue Walsh" specifically, which has a chorus that makes me feel overly nostalgical.

The music is what you would expect from a compedium of songs written by Hinds but with a twist. It has the country fingerpicking styled riffs, with a lot of open strings resonating, but there's no place for agressiveness. The vocals are more laid back, and the heavy riffing is nowhere to be found. I understand that these can cause rejection in the band's fanbase, but it is a nice one-step out of their career.

I think these album will be a delight to the more prog-rock oriented guys out there, and even people who enjoy their southern rock (there's a lot of it to be found in here). And I believe it was a good movement to take all these songs and make an EP, because maybe they are a little far from what the band does to be on an LP, but this way we can enjoy them anyway.

 Hushed and Grim by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 87 ratings

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Hushed and Grim
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by eduardico21

5 stars To be honest, I wasn't expecting this album to be so good. The singles were alright, but nothing that took my breath away. "Pushing the Tides" didn't do anything for me when I first heared it, and "Teardrinker" although being a good song was nothing that I haven't listened from the band before.

However, Hushed and Grim is an album that is meant to be experience in full. In the same way that in classics such as Tales From Topographic Oceans or The Lamb Lies on Broadway, the songs doesn't have the same impact if you listen to them separately, as they are conceived to be listened as a hole. In fact, the two aforementioned singles have a vital role in these matter. This album is by far the most experimental, laid-back and alternative that Mastodon has put out, and those two energetic songs serve as a break in between the two chunks of more elaborated and calmer songs.

On the first LP we have bangers such as "Sickle and Peace", a psychedelic anthem that will drown you in his hypnotic riffing. I also love the change to the chorus and the riff of that part, which reminds me a lot of a more heavier Black Sabbath. "More Than I Could Chew" is another one of my favourites, with a 10/10 riff by Bill Kelliher, which is reminiscent of that from "The Last Baron" that is loved by every fan of the band. "Skeleton of Splendor" is a splendid ballad and "The Beast" is the most clear example of Hinds taking the reins in all of the album. I didn't really like this song that much on the first hearings, but it has grown in me a lot. Although I would say that is something that fits better on an album from West End Motel (the other band of Brent Hinds) than on a Mastodon one.

But for me, the second LP is what takes the cake. All of my favourite songs are in there. "Had It All" is possible the most precious song that the band has ever written and always makes me shed a tear. "Savage Lands" is alongside "Pushing the Tides" the more direct song of the bunch and I like it better than the other one. "Gobblers of Dregs" is my favourite song of them all, being a modern version of the best years from Black Sabbath. "Eyes of Serpents" is another banger (Kelliher says that it is his favourite song from Mastodon at the moment), and "Gigantium" is a beautiful piece of art cut into two parts, having the second one the best solo that Hinds have ever put to tape.

I also love the lyrics of the album. This time they haven't taken the conceptual approach, but all the songs talk about similar topics, suchs as loss, depression and nostalgia. They are for me the best ones they have written alongside the ones from "Crack the Skye". Maybe in the mucianship department they are more restrained (specially Dailor), but I think that is for the better, and the performances always fit the songs.

Hushed and Grim don't have the raw power of Blood Mountain or Crack the Skye, but it shows a band in his maturity, a band that is not afraid to swim in other waters and comes out victorius doing it. For me is a clear top 3 from the band and a contender for best prog metal album of 2021.

 Hushed and Grim by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 87 ratings

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Hushed and Grim
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Are our musicians on the verge of becoming parodies of themselves? Did Aldous Huxley or George Orwell secretly write This Is Spinal Tap?

CD 1 (43:04) 1. "Pain with an Anchor" (5:01) great drumming within well-worn metal sounds, riffs, and expressives. (8.5/10)

2. "The Crux" (4:59) impressive, aggressive drumming that sounds separate from the rest of the music (which is made up of well-worn metal sounds, riffs, and expressives). I do like the second part starting at 2:38. (8.5/10)

3. "Sickle and Peace" (6:17) opens with a very catchy whole band groove--including some nice melody present in the singing! (The drummer is in the pocket.) Something about this takes me back ? to AMERICA's "Ventura Highway" (a melody I know and love very well as it is one of my all-time favorite songs). I even love the PROGHMA-C-like chorus. This is metal I can connect with! There's even a little ALICE IN CHAINS here! (9/10)

4. "More Than I Could Chew" (6:51) Mellotron?! Is this Anekdoten?! (Great title!) Interesting intro--that leads into a great, easy-to-access metal groove with heavily-treated vocals. Great Geoff Tate/Ozzie/Layne Staley vocals--easily the best vocal on the album: the dude sounds so invested, so present. What?!! Going for the Peter Hammill vocal sound in the fifth minute! This is sick! (i.e. "great"!) Not a great electric guitar solo. Still, my favorite song on the album. (14/15)

5. "The Beast" (6:03) into the swamps for some Southern Rock. Nice! Even a Billy Gibbons-like vocal! Wow! Hard to dislike this classic-sounding music. With dirty walls of sound like this it's hard for the drummer to stand out so much. Too bad about the divergent chorus. Now they've left the swamp; they're in the realm of Robotic TOTO. Trying to get back--more like switching channels--at 4:45, but something is lost: the song feels split; two-faced. Too bad. (9/10)

6. "Skeleton of Splendor" (5:04) this multi-vocalist shtick is starting to bug me. nice Blue Öyster Cult-like music. Cool Richard Wright synth work in the fourth minute--followed by a raunchy guitar solo. (8.5/10)

7. "Teardrinker" (5:20) this one sounds awfully close to 80s hair-metal bands like Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, with a little Whitesnake and Metallica. (8/10)

8. "Pushing the Tides" (3:29) the impressive drumming is back! The music and vocals more aggressive, more insistent, more Metallica-like--with a Bon Jove chorus. (8/10)

Reaction at the half-way point: 86.47/100. Why do these guys sound like old guys--like a heavy metal tribute band?

CD 2 (43:13) 1. "Peace and Tranquility" (5:55) another song of multiple personalities trying to work together. (8.25/10)

2. "Dagger" (5:12) Uriah Heep channeling special guest Richard Wright trying to be Alice in Chains? Simple weirdness. (8.5/10)

3. "Had It All" (5:25) despite the nice sounds, the whole vibe here is creepy for its echo of bands and musics long past (esp DEF LEPPARD, Ten-era PEARL JAM, and Layne Staley-era Alice in Chains). Nice use of the wah-effects on the lead guitar solo. (8.75/10)

4. "Savage Lands" (4:24) despite the obvious Ozzie-ness here, this song at least sounds like it comes from the 21st Century. (8.5/10)

5. "Gobblers of Dregs" (8:34) great start--sucks me in like molasses or a tar pit. The second movement that starts in the fifth minute is just too divergent. Two songs that are meant to be two songs, not mish-mashed into one. Very impressive drumming. (17.5/20)

6. "Eyes of Serpents" (6:49) Fender Rhodes?! another song built around more familiar sounds, riffs, and stylings. Interesting guitar solo in the fifth minute. Are those background choral vocals real or sampled? (13/15)

7. "Gigantium" (6:54) sounds like a Devy Townsend song--though the walls of sound aren't quite as thick and impenetrable. (13/15)

Total Time 86:17

Second CD: 86.11/100.

B/four stars; an enjoyable journey through the history of late 20th Century metal music. Recommended for those who will remember; highly recommended to those appreciators of fine drumming.

It must be so hard for prog metal artists to come up with new riffs, new tricks, fresh ideas. I'm beginning to feel a little sorry for them.

 Hushed and Grim by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 87 ratings

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Hushed and Grim
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mastodon released their eighth studio album 'Hushed and Grim' on October 29, 2021, on the label Reprise, on which they have been even since 2006's 'Blood Mountain'. For the first time ever, the band present a double album, and almost 90 minutes of music for the listener to delve into, making this the band's longest studio LP. The band is joined by producer David Bottrill, who is known for his work with Dream Theater, Tool, and Coheed and Cambria, among other well-known rock and metal acts.

It is the striking cover in shades of gray that gives the listener the first impression of the album ? dark, unwelcoming and with lots of things happening at once, the beautiful artwork certainly sets a grim tone for an album that is shockingly uplifting. The band take a massive risk by releasing a double LP, mainly because they are known for carefully selecting the material they present on studio releases; Moreover, 'Hushed and Grim' seems to be their most versatile collection of songs so far, with some quite adventurous compositions and often unusual for the band itself, this record is simultaneously reflective and starless, and inspiring and uplifting, as said before. Perhaps because it is very authentic and sincere, perhaps because it comes from a cold and dark place, and this is something that the listener can experience throughout the whole duration of the album, 'Hushed and Grim' will blow you away with its emotional depth and masterful and crafty songwriting, arguably its strongest asset.

Interestingly, this is the first Mastodon album since their 2002 debut not to feature Scott Kelly of Neurosis as a guest vocalist on a track, another sign that this collection of songs sets itself apart from the rest of the band's catalogue.

The album kicks off with the powerful 'Pain with an Anchor', a fast-paced song that has some tremendous licks and features Brann Dailor as the lead vocalist, who performs exquisitely; the massive breakdown around the final third of the song reminisces the band's early 2000s days. It is evident from this very first glimpse at 'Hushed and Grim' that the album is going to be very atmospheric, very embracing and unapologetically bleak, but also very heavy and acutely produced. What follows is 'The Crux', a song that should likely become a live staple, and the emotive 'Sickle and Peace', a groovier entry on the album, yet again with a very memorable and menacing chorus. 'More Than I Could Chew' opens up with a late 60s mellotron intro that is then contrasted by the crushing main riff; once again, the vocals are handled by Dailor and Sanders who are the most 'present' vocalists on 'Hushed and Grim'. So far, the songs develop effortlessly in front of the listener, always surprising with the direction they are going to and always sounding sheltering, despite the heavy tones and the dark and introspective topics. 'The Beast' features Brent Hinds on lead vocals, a song that could remind some of the title track from 'The Hunter', or even 'The Sparrow', another very atmospheric composition from the Atlanta quartet. 'Skeleton of Splendor' is another excellent song that will astonish the unprepared; 'Teardrinker' will certainly go down as one of the most recognizable songs by the band, as it was released as a single. Same goes for the final entry on side one, 'Pushing the Tides'; both this and 'Teardrinker' are Mastodonian enough to satisfy each fan's expectations from the band.

Side two opens with 'Peace and Tranquility', an experimental alt-metal powerhouse that features all three vocalists we are used to; 'Dagger' is another risky track for the band, as they give us a melancholic song that has a touch of Oriental soundscapes; 'Had It All' is a powerful song that oozes sadness and even tragedy, yet it is one of the most touching moments one could find on any Mastodon album, a beautiful and well-written song. That far into the album, it is sufficiently clear that tremendous effort has been put into the songwriting process, as each and every track seems to be patiently constructed. The following couple of songs are not a bit worse that all that came before - 'Savage Lands' is one of the more aggressive offerings here, while 'Gobblers of Dregs' is the band's prog peak, clocking in at eight minutes and a half, and featuring some creepy synths that add an extra layer of greatness to the already-excellent mini-epic. 'Eyes of Serpents' is quite interesting as well, while 'Gigantium' is a bit hard to understand, mainly given the fact that it serves as the album closer.

It is hard to comprehend how a band could be so consistent in putting out quality releases eight times in a row; With no weak entries in their catalogue up to that point, 'Hushed and Grim' makes no exception to the rule that when Mastodon release a new studio album, it is among the most intriguing and immersive releases of that year. This time the band present an exhaustive collection of atmospheric progressive metal that, if allowed, will stay inside your head for days, making you want more and more from this colossal band.

 Emperor of Sand by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.68 | 135 ratings

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Emperor of Sand
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by eduardico21

4 stars In the last years, Emperor of Sand has been my less listened album by Mastodon. I almost burned it when it first came out, and maybe that's the reason why I haven't touched it that much in these years. Now that I'm reviewing all of Mastodon's discography I've rediscovered this album and I'm enjoying it more than what I expected.

It probably is the more stoner record by the band. All the songs sound a little alike and they all have great vocal melodies. At first this homogeneity may sound like a bad thing, but in reality the album keeps ut with the expectations and delivers 11 songs with almost no flaws. Maybe the weaker songs are the melodic "Show Yourself" and the more sludgy "Andromeda", but even so they are good songs.

What I like the most are the Pink Floyd influenced moments. This influence is very clear in passages like the instrumental break of "Clandestiny", which with its psychedelic nature and heavy riffs makes for the best song of the album. "Jaguar God" is also an excellent song with some of this keyboard infused psychedelics that I love so much.

I also find the lyrics very interesting. They take a concept album approach again, about some Emperor that curses the protagonist to walk the desert until dehydration. What I love is that they use that story as a metaphore for a fight against cancer, which I find very clever.

In conclusion, meeting again with this album was a real pleasure. It maybe doesn't have any song that truly stands out above the rest, but nor under them. A truly solid release from an already consolidated band.

 Once More 'round the Sun by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 215 ratings

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

Review by eduardico21

4 stars After the utterly dissapointing The Hunter, Once More 'round the Sun was a total back to form. And maybe for the first time on their career the band stopped pushing forward and took a look back, being the style of the album a combination of all the types of music they have done through the years.

We have some stoner influence ("Tread Lightly"), melodic and catchy songs ("The Motherload"), sludge anthems ("Diamond in the Witch House"), psychedelic stuff ("One More 'round the Sun")... and all of it is great. I specially love three songs of the record, which are within my favourite Mastodon tracks of all time. The first one is "Tread Lightly", the song that made me fall in love with the band back in the day. A stoner metal anthem that drowns you in its splendid guitar work. And the one thing that came to my mind the first time I listened to it was "oh my God, this guy can sing". As you already know if you have read my other reviews I really don't like the style of Troy on Remission, and although on the later albums it gets better it doesn't do much for me anyway. But it was on this LP when he released his full potential, and it crushes all his perfomances.

The other two songs on my top list from this album are "Halloween", an amazing melodic metal song, and "Diamond in the Witch House". The thing I really love about "Halloween" is the second half, when they go nuts with all that heavy riffs and solos. I think that the halts they do on the ending part are really cool to. And "Diamond in the Witch House" is simply speaking, the best sludge metal song they have put out. It features Scott Kelly from Neurosis and you can tell that his band has been a major influence on this song, because if you listen to the parts that he's singing is difficult to tell the difference between the two bands. The final part, with Kelly screaming his lungs out and that heavy as hell but trippy riff playing is an incredible moment.

The rest of the songs are good too, and I don't dislike any of them. "The Motherload" is a more commercial song, in the vein of The Hunter, but much more well written and with actually a very catchy riff and chorus. "High Road" has one of the best riffs on the album but the chorus doesn't do it for me that much, while "Chimes of Midnight" is another strong song with an incredible riff but much better in my opinion. "Once More 'round the Sun" and "Asleep in the Deep" are the more psychedelic part of the album and I frigging love em, specially the first.

The worst songs of the album must be "Feast Your Eyes", "Aunt Lisa" and "Ember City", and even so they have very memorable moments and are good songs even if they don't match the quality of the rest. I find very enjoying the final part of "Aunt Lisa", with that nice choruses sung by The Coathangers, and the riff that plays at 2:58 in "Ember City".

In conclusion, Once More 'round the Sun is not on par with the two masterpieces that Mastodon has already put out by this time (Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye), but it's not that far. It would definitely be a top 3 contender for me, a must listen for every fan of the band and a recommend one for all the others.

 The Hunter by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.68 | 428 ratings

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The Hunter
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by eduardico21

2 stars The first thing I have to say about The Hunter is that for me is the worst album the band has ever recorded. On one hand it has some songs that I really love, "The Hunter", "Stargasm" and "Curl of the Burl" specially. On the other hand, the rest of the album is not memorable at all and in some moments is plain bad.

The lyrics are silly as hell. I get it, after all that many concept albums they were trying to do something more direct and fun for them to play, which is not a bad thing at all if the songs are good. The shame is that it's not the case.

I don't even have that much to say about this album. After the other reviews I've done this is gonna be a lot shorter in comparison, which is an indicator of how uninteresting this LP is. If they have taken "Black Tongue", "Curl of the Burl" (which are two simple and direct songs but very well written), and the trippyness of "The Hunter", "The Sparrow" and "Stargasm" and have made an EP, I would give that work 4 stars. But that's not the case, and this is full of filler.

"Creature Lives" is possible the worst song the band has ever done. And I don't really like "Blasteroid", "Thickening" and "Spectrelight" (a poor attempt to return to the Leviathan style) that much too. The rest of the songs are listenable but nothing too special, and will fade out from your memory as soon as the CD ends.

My recommendation is that you listen to the five songs I've highlighted and go listen to the previous and later albums, because this is the only Mastodon album not worth diving at it.

 Crack the Skye by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.15 | 683 ratings

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Crack the Skye
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by eduardico21

5 stars Second masterpiece in a row and the last one they have put out (at least at the moment). Crack the Skye is the most celebrated Mastodon album and I can see why. Personally, I like it as much as Blood Mountain, but CTS is a lot more melodious, prog-oriented and doesn't have any of the sludge riffs that the band had on their first albums, something that is positive for the prog fans that doesn't like metal that much.

The lyrics on this album are the best from the band by far. This was their third consecutive concept album, and by the time they have already learned how to do it real good. Here you have an interesting story about astral projection with a lot of psychedelic imaginery (like the classic third eye), which is represented on the album cover too. But what is really interesting for me are the references to Brann Dailor's life. As all of you may already know, this album is dedicated to the sister of Brann, who commited suicide at the age of 14, and there are two songs that have direct connection with this topic.

The first of this songs is "Oblivion", which have one of the most painful verses I've ever heard. The part that says "I tried to bore a hole into the ground, breaking all the fingers and the nails from my hands" tears my soul apart everytime. As Brann said on an interview, after the death of Skye he began to experiment with heavy psychedelic drugs such as LSD, and one night he had a really bad trip which ended in him trying to bore a hole into the grave of her little sister. I like mythology and story oriented lyrics, but is this kind of thing what I really aprecciate in music. Art imitates life as some people say, and when you put your life experiences in your music you can connect yourself with the feelings of thousands of people around the world, which I think is something magical. That's why one of my favourite lyricists of all time is Daniel Gindenlow from Pain of Salvation. The other song involving this lyrical themes is "Crack the Skye", which features one of the best interpretations from the career of Scott Kelly (from Neurosis), and is one of the best songs from the band. I could never avoid crying while listening to this song.

Musicallywise this must be the best Mastodon release alongside the previous Blood Mountain. Here it's obvious that Brent Hinds has taken creative control of the band, as his style of playing with a lot of arpeggiated riffs with open strings are the main force that drives the album forward. Apart from "Crack the Skye" the other best songs are the two suites. The part that I like the most about "The Czar" is the intro, which has one of the more memorable vocal lines from the band. And "The Last Baron" is the best Mastodon song for me, this song is pure perfection. You have an incredible intro, heavy riffs, a crazy solo (which reminds me of some of the crazy [&*!#] that John Petrucci used to do in the old days), operistic arrangements that are similar to the ones used by Devin Townsend (4:18) and the best vocal performance that Hinds have done to date. But I'm a very riff addicted guy, I usually lost interest in the music if it does not have good guitar riffs. And the reason I love this song that much is because it has two of the best guitar riffs that I've heard on my entire life, the one that plays at 5:30 and the one at 8:19. And as you can see, these two riffs are influeced by stoner a lot (bands like Kyuss), which is one major turning point in the career of the band.

The rest of the songs are very good on its own. "Oblivion" is super trippy and "Divinations" has one heavy as hell riff on the verses. I really like to the chorus of the later, with that crazy twin guitars that don't stop swinging at any moment. "Quintessence" is a very strange song, which I think has to be with the unusual vocal lines, but I like it a lot. The song I like the least is "Ghost of Karelia", but is worth listening for the drum performance alone, that is top notch as always.

I'm convinced that Crack the Skye will be marked in history as one of the best classics of progressive metal music, and people in 20 years will see it as we see today albums such as Images and Words.

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

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