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Mastodon - Blood Mountain CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.73 | 351 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Mastodon has got to be the most alluring band in metal. They have an awesome name, some of the greatest artwork out there and they have great album/song titles. Blood Mountain is a name that demands respect, and demands to be heard. Even if you don't like the music, how could you not find that to be an amazing album title? One of my best friends is disappointed with himself because he can't get into an album with such a fantastic title. You all should be too, three reviewers above me who rated this album with only three stars!

So anyway, Blood Mountain is the third album in a series of albums dealing with the four elements by Mastodon. Yet another awesome piece of art on the cover, and yet another set of awesome songs by a unique and constantly improving band. I remember buying this thing on its release date, coincidentally the same date as Amputechture. My best friend and I wanted to be able to sit down and savor all of the greatness that was to be found on The Mars Volta's album, so we threw this one on in the car to rock while running the rest of our errands. I'm not sure why I underestimated this album, but we were unexpectedly leveled by the sheer force of this thing right from the start. Brann's opening drum fill on "The Wolf Is Loose" leads into a crushing slab of awesome for 50 minutes. With as abstract and perplexing as Amputecture ended up being, Blood Mountain turned out to be the real treasure of the day. For the first four songs, I felt like this was going to be the greatest metal album ever (you'll note I said something like this about Beyond Twilight's For the Love of Art and the Making as well). Sadly, the album didn't hold that same level all the way through, and while the aforementioned Volta album grew over many listens, unveiling another masterpiece, Mastodon's is more or less a face value album, and didn't do any growing after 2-3 listens. However, if an album is darn good from the start, it's still darn good after repeated listens.

So, restating what I said earlier without the short, fragmented recount of my personal experience with the album, the first four tracks on this album are fantastic. The cerebral, heavy and fast metal discharges of "The Wolf Is Loose" and "Crystal Skull" get your adrenaline rushing out. "Sleeping Giant" is the first experiment on the album. The band keeps the tempo low [for them] and delivers a dynamic and, at the end, quirky song that is really quite cool. As usual, Brann Dailor's drumming commands the music, most often with his spastic, strangely rhythmic seizures. But as we see first with this song, he can keep a mean single beat as well. Those builds and pounds are so full of power! The final song in that "fantastic four," if you will, is "Capilarian Crest," which contains the coolest, most fun riff the band has ever written, and it is so good, it warrants that almost ridiculous number of times they repeat it.

"Circle of Cysquatch" is a solid track, but after the first four it just doesn't stand out. "Bladecatcher is a quirky instrumental that revolves around a set of riffs that get repeated twice, after a nice, clean intro. The songwriting does sound a bit immature here. The lines are repeated exactly and very mechanically. They sound cool, but the song as a whole is undeveloped. "Colony of Birchmen" is another highlight, featuring guest vocals by Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. He is one of three guest vocalists on the album, who, unlike guest vocalists on other album, sing backups. This song is also a new style for the band, and it rocks hard! "Hunters of the Sky" and "Hand of Stone" are good, but forgettable tracks (truthfully, I still forget what these songs sound like). Fortunately, the final three tracks are memorable ones. "This Mortal Soil" is as melodic as I have ever heard the band get, and it works very well. "Siberian Divide," coincidentally, features vocals from Cedric Bixler-Zavala of Mars Volta fame. It's a strange track, especially with Cedric's haunting shrieks in the background, but it proves to be an enjoyable experiment. "Pendulous Skin" closes the album with a light, airy instrumental. The strange thing about the "instrumentals" on this disc is that they have vocals, but they are incoherent. I'm not if they're just Mastodon's version of skat vocals or what, but their presnece does bring something positive to the songs. Don't be fooled, though, it's not 22 minutes long. It's about 5, and it's followed by an unreasonable amount of silence and finally a hidden snippet of a band member reading a (joke, I do believe) letter from Josh Homme.

So, if you don't want to bother reading that huge chunk up there (and you shouldn't, it isn't very interesting and I didn't insert anything funny), know this: the band has made another excellent album, and we're starting to see a lot of stylistic experimentation. The band is certainly on the verge of a masterpiece. They sound better with each release, and they sounded good from the beginning! Of course, due to the nature of their sound, this won't be for everyone (as the ratings and reviews reflect), but anyone who is open minded should find something they'll appreciate here. Fans of metal should definitely look into this band if they haven't already; they will destroy you!

Moatilliatta | 4/5 |


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