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Mastodon Blood Mountain album cover
3.76 | 396 ratings | 33 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Wolf Is Loose (3:34)
2. Crystal Skull (3:27)
3. Sleeping Giant (5:36)
4. Capillarian Crest (4:25)
5. Circle of Cysquatch (3:19)
6. Bladecatcher (3:20)
7. Colony of Birchmen (4:19)
8. Hunters of the Sky (3:52)
9. Hand of Stone (3:30)
10. This Mortal Soil (5:00)
11. Siberian Divide (5:32)
12. Pendulous Skin (22:15)

Total Time 68:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Brent Hinds / lead guitar, vocals
- Bill Kelliher / rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Troy Sanders / bass, vocals
- Brann Dailor / drums, backing vocals

- Scott Kelly / vocals (2)
- Josh Homme / vocals (7)
- Cedric Bixler-Zavala / vocals (11)
- Erica Brewer / violin (3)
- Nicola Shangrow / violin (3)
- Jennifer Ellison / cello (3)
- Isaiah Owens / organ & synth (12)

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Romano

CD Reprise Records ‎- 44364-2 (2006, US)

LP Relapse Records ‎- RR 6676-1 (2006, US)

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MASTODON Blood Mountain ratings distribution

(396 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MASTODON Blood Mountain reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars Mastodon had a lot riding on Blood Mountain. The previous album, Leviathan, was a smash in the metal community and the pressure fro tehfollow-up was compounded by Mastodon's signing to Warner, a major label. Thus, fans of the underground were ready to pounce on the band for selling out. Mastodon responded by releasing what may very well be the metal album of the year for 06. The band once again makes a concept piece, this time about the quest to get a crystal skull from, you guessed it, Blood Mountain. Even mainstream rock "experts" Rolling Stone are lavishing praise on this. Fans of Mastodon or newcomers who like bands such as Trivium will most likely love this album, but those who cannot stand screams should steer clear.

There is little filler on this disc. Tracks like Capillarian Crest, Siberian Divide, and Sleeping Giant don't let off the throttle and add all sorts of dizzying turns. Once again Brann Dailor is the centerpiece of the band; his highly technical drumming decides which direction the bvand will take throughout their songs. The album closes with the mighty instrumental Pendulous Skin, which recalls Hearts Alive in its splendor. The guest musicians don't really contribute a whole lot but the don't detract from the album. I do wish that Josh Homme had made more significant contributions, though.

Blood Mountain is the the third of a proposed four concept albums dealing with the elements of the ancient world. The next album will deal with wind, and perhaps they'll do the fifth element after that. Fans of heavier metal will enjoy this album, but old-schoolers might want to skip this Atlanta quartet.

Grade: B+

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Until I'm writing this review, I still don't understand why this band which I consider as pure metal band has been featured here. But I don't want to create debate pn this subject. Just to let you know on why I purchased this CD, it was due to: 1.) my metalhead friend praised highly this band and according to him as he quoted from "Metal Hammer" magazine he said "Mastodon is the future of metal band". 2.) I really wanted to expand my metal horizon by purchasing some metal albums like DragonForce, Van den Plas, Helloween, etc. 3.) Printed locally, so I could by at local price (approx USD 6.7 per CD).

As a matter of viewing this album from metal point of view, metalheads must be proud of having this band around as they write and perform good metal music. The opening track "The Wolf Is Loose" (3:34) blasts off with dynamic drum work at intro part followed with loud metal music. The music offers a good combination of vocal and guitar, rhythm section of drums and bass. Guitar provides excellent solo throughout the song. "Crystal Skull" (3:27) follows the style of previous track, performed fast in heavy rhythm section. "Sleeping Giant" (5:36) starts with relatively long instrument piece using guitar as main melody. The music moves into vocal line with higher and heavier composition. "Capillarian Crest" (4:25) brings the music up with faster tempo and music with packed composition. Guitar continues to provide good solo during transition pieces.

"Circle of Cysquatch" (3:19) starts with distorted guitar solo followed with dazzling drum work which then brings the music into fast tempo style. "Bladecatcher" (3:20) starts with guitar fills in the vein of King Crimson's Adrian Belew guitar style. The music follows in a fast tempo. "This Mortal Soil" (5:00) is another good metal music. "Pendulous Skin" concludes the album with NOT a 22 minutes duration but apprimately 5 minutes. It's recorded and printed by mistake, I believe.

Overall, as far as metal concern, this is a good album especially for those of you who like heavier part of rock music. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ok, it didn't work. So let's go back to the traditional format.

Last year this album was mentioned in a lot of posts in the forum as one of the best albums of 2006, and some even heralded it as a masterpiece of prog-metal. Of course I felt compelled to buy the record to see if the music lived up to the hype. I already had experienced a disappointment with the choice for Album of The Year, so my fears about this particular album weren't completely unfounded. And then I heard it.

First, let me say it right away: if you listen to music from a certain perspective, this actually could be heralded as a masterpiece. This is metal, really hard, heavy, violent metal, but played with the utmost precision and with excellent technical skills. We hear echoes of bands like Messhugah and Death here and there, and that would be a good way to describe the music: a mix between technical metal (with just hints of death metal) and of that violent, hammering music that Messhugah delivers, but with a lot of original elements. There are also hardcore influences here, for sure, and even some industrial-metal sounds (which for me isn't too good). The music, extremely violent at times, does never lose precision nor coherence, and it's easy to tell each song from the other. There are a few (in caps: A FEW) moments of something resembling melody in the album, and there are bits where the singer actually sings. The guitar playing is very interesting, as is the drumming which never lets us down. I can see why the bad is here in PA, as there are a lot of instrumental passages, songs connect with the others with a smooth, rational flow, but that's about it.

If you like more melodic, tuneful metal, then BLOOD MOUNTAIN can't be heralded as a masterpiece, as the violence crushes everything in its wake, melody one of the biggest casualties of this musical war. As I said before, another one of the elements that I don't particularly like are those that remind me of hardcore and industrial metal, as I pretty much can't stand any of the two genres.

About the progressiveness, this is not the place to discuss such matters, but let me say that this is one of those albums where, one second you can find arguments in favor of its being categorized as prog, the next minute you can come up with 5 other reasons as to why Mastodon isn't prog. I don't have an answer myself but I have a saying in the rating I give to any album I review, so, in that light, I would say that Mastodon's latest is NOT a masterpiece, but if you look at it from a different point of view, it CERTAINLY CAN BE. Let me clarify that: for violent, ultra-heavy music, this IS a masterpiece, as everything works so perfectly and there's even room for some actual music here and there; but for rock music in general, and for what I think and like, this is too violent and there's not enough melody.

3 stars. I can't go higher, but I also can't go lower.

Recommended for: Fans of extreme metal with "brains", fans of violent metal, fans of Messhugah, and open-minded prog-rock fans that can withstand a vicious musical attack.

Not recommended: People that like melodic music and who can't stand extreme noise and a relentless attack on their eardrums.

.if you listen to this album, blood won't be coming from a mountain, but from your ears.

Review by russellk
3 stars This is a very strong metal album, but lacks the outstanding compositions that would have elevated it to the top echelon of the genre.

Fearsome technical skill is becoming more and more common these days, and with BRANN DAILOR this outfit have a supremely skilled skin-smasher. The rest of the band aren't too bad either. What is too bad is that too many of these tracks don't go anywhere: 'Bladecatcher' is an example of this, an instrumental without purpose, an album-filler. On the other hand, 'Sleeping Giant' is a genuine rib-crushing classic. Slow, extremely heavy, grinding the listener into the granite like a slab of BLACK SABBATH. 'The Wolf Is Loose' represents an excellent stab at a more commercial track. 'Colony of Birchmen' overflows with riffage, and 'Pendulous Skin' is a more than competent instrumental.

There's definitely a whiff of progressive sensibility here, but not much more. MASTODON is not a typical metal band, and neither is it a DREAM THEATER clone. They have been compared to OPETH, though it's not a comparison I'd make myself: OPETH'S compositional skills are far greater than those exhibited here. Definitely a band for fans of the sub-genre, though I'd imagine many proggers would enjoy 'Sleeping Giant'. Along with 'Leviathan', 'Blood Mountain' is MASTODON'S best work.

Review by Moatilliatta
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!

Review by ProgBagel
4 stars Mastodon - 'Blood Mountain' 4 stars

More progression and experimentalism, just lacking some punch, the final punch specifically.

This album was a very nice follow-up to 'Leviathan' that really stirred up a storm in the metal community. 'Blood Mountain' has a lot more variation, like the dueling instrumental acoustic guitars section in the beginning of 'Sleeping Giant' to the complete avant-garde John Zorn like track 'Bladecatcher' and the voice box on 'Circle of Cysquatch'.it's all over the place!

Mastodon certainly did not lose their brutal signature sound of course. Brann Dailor's furious dynamic drum solo opens up the album before some crunchy guitar and Troy's angry vocals come in right along with them. The clean vocal work is used much more then on 'Leviathan'.

Now, the only flaw are some of the songs themselves. If tracks 1-8 were the only tracks on this album, it would be one of the best metal albums of all time. It was quite sad that after 'Hunters of the Sky' the album lacked good song structure. Tracks 9-12 just sounded like an amateur Mastodon wannabee band. The most useless would be the last track 'Pendulous Skin'. 'Pendulous Skin' is a 22 minute piece consisting of 5 minute Mastodon blues which just sounds bad in words, the music would share the same fate. The album would only lose one star in my view for having a horrid four track run to close out the album. Otherwise, this album was quite excellent.

I recommend this to any fan of prog-metal. It is surely one of the better releases in the genre. Others with a bit of a more eclectic taste can try out this album as well. It does not disappoint!

Review by The Crow
3 stars The third Mastodon's full-length effort was their definitive entry into prog!

The outstanding Leviathan had some prog elements, with intricate passages and some long instrumental sections, but it's really far from the complexity of Blood Mountain, where the guys show all their instrumental skills, and the great amount of imagination they have to compose songs. Nevertheless, I think they did not achieve the level of Leviathan.

The style of this album was still a curious mixture between thrash metal, stoner and prog, like the previous one, but Blood Mountain increased the level of prog and psychedelic elements, making the songs more intricate and variated, and even more personal and unique. The problem is that they were not so catchy as the Leviathan killer tracks. The experimentation of this album was commendable, but I think the band did not achieve a real good balance between the immediate killer power of Leviathan and the new attempt to reach a proggier level.

Specially the second half of the album is a bit dull to hear, because some songs like the silly Bladecatcher, the insipid Hunters of the Sky and the not really interesting Hand of Stone, which are under the usual level of the band.

Best Tracks: the first five tracks are splendid and I like Colony of Birchmen and Siberian Divide very much. The rest of the album is not at the same level.

Conclusion: I think that Blood Mountain was some kind of transition album. It had not the power and the catchy style of Leviathan, because the band tried new musical ways in the prog way, but not finding the right balance.

The album has great songs, but some musical ideas didn't work so well, specially in the second half of the album, and the general level is under Leviathan.

My rating: ***

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Blood Mountain is the third full-length studio album by American experimental metal act Mastodon. Mastodon left Relapse Records after the huge success of their second full-length studio album Leviathan (2004) and signed a major record deal with Reprise Records ( A subsidary to Warner Music Group Company). A decision to move from a smaller company ( which tends to focus on the artistic side of music) and into the big league ( which tends to focus first on making money and then if you´re lucky on artistic values) always creates lots of speculations. I think many a fan was worried about the prospects of how Blood Mountain would sound like when it was released. With the high quality material on this album I´m sure none were disappointed. This is one of the rare cases were artistic values and commercial interests go hand in hand.

The music on Blood Mountain is a natural progression from the music on Leviathan. The style is still experimental metal with elements from both thrash metal, hardcore, post metal, psychadelic rock and progressive rock. The vocals are a mix of shouting angry type vocals and clean rough singing. The latter style is more used on Blood Mountain than it was on Leviathan giving the album a more melodic edge. This is still furious, fast played, complex and aggressive music though. Blood Mountain is just a more varied affair than anything Mastodon had done before. Just listen to the strange processed vocals on the song Bladecatcher or the psychadelic rock singing in closing track Pendulous Skin. The album took some time to sink in for me though. After being blown away by the powerful opening trio of songs The Wolf Is Loose, Crystal Skull and Sleeping Giant I found myself having a hard time remembering other songs from the album ( with exceptions like Bladecatcher of course). I´ve listened and listened to find details to hang on to ( and there are many), hooks I could remember or just a memorable song line. After listening to Blood Mountain many times I´ve succeeded in my quest. For some people this is an easily accessible album but not for me. But the click that came when I finally got it, was so rewarding that I wouldn´t have been without my long journey. I enjoy musical challenges and this is certainly one.

The musicianship is excellent. Powerful, fast as hell and complex drumming, sharp yet melodic guitar riffing and vocals that match. The vocals are the weak point though if I have to make one complaint.

The production by Matt Bayles and Mastodon is powerful and intense. A professional and well sounding production.

Blood Mountain is another great album by Mastodon. With this album they cemented their position as one of the most respected and successful experimental metal acts in the last ten years and a 4 star rating is well deserved.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If Mastodon masters one thing it's kicking off their albums. The Wolf is Loose delivers on its title's promise. This is crisp and energetic metal that sounds freshly melted from Lucifer's deepest pits.

Even though there are subtle moves towards a more varied and accessible sound, Mastodon haven't changed fundamentally since the debut. They are still a solid metallic alloy of alternative metal, hard-core, death metal and some scraps of post-metal. They added some clean singing but that often sounds equally unmelodic and strained as the forceless gruff vocals.

The biggest change comes from the rhythm section. Brann Dailor must have realized that hitting every tom and cymbal of his kit at least 10 times a second wasn't maybe the best way to make a song dynamic. He varies the tempos much more now, he allows for slower sections and abstains from sealing every bar tight with fills and ruffles. It permits the band to develop more interesting music such as on Sleeping Giant, This Mortal Soil and Siberian Divide. But still, a 'Divide' is clearly no 'Kathru'. With tiresome vocals like this, Prog or any other musical Valhalla is far out of reach.

Blood Mountain is a good album but I liked it a lot more the first few times that I heard it. It hasn't aged very well really. I want more highlights and especially more emotive power from music then the few crumbs that lie scattered here.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Climbing Blood Mountain to Crack The Skye

Mastodon's "Blood Mountain" is the album preceding the masterful "Crack the Skye" that put them on the progressive metal map.

The earlier work seems to be heavier and less prog but "Blood Mountain" is a progressive album culminating in a psych prog conclusion.

The album begins with 'The Wolf Is Loose' that utilises trademark power metal riffs that change time signature. The vocals consist of caustic growls and screams. This is one of their heaviest tracks and starts the album on a high note. There are assaults of brutal riffs, duel guitar breaks, and complex effective drumming. A short blast that is technical, fast and progressive.

'Crystal Skull' begins with tympanic African drumbeats from Dailor then an excellent Slayeresque riff chugs along. "Into the black hole, searching for crystal... making the veins bleed," the vocals growl. The incessant riffing are intricate with many time changes. Blazing guitar solos from Hinds and Kelliher and emphatic vocals create a seriously brutal tone and killer speed. 'Sleeping Giant' has even more depth and complexity beginning with a doomy slow guitar motif. There is some harmonic work and a great lead break. It changes pace when the vocals kick in. The track is a definite highlight, very catchy tune and at 4:20 there is a brilliant riff to latch onto and a scorching guitar break. The drums are frenetic at times, a low vocal is used in places and it ends with a jagged guitar and it rings from left to right speaker.

'Capillarian Crest' features more inspired dynamic guitar power riffs to introduce it and then it shifts to a speed metal pace, then changes pace later to launch in to a lead break. It slows again when the vocals resume and feels like a different song. The intricate technical playing is astounding. Guitar squeals break the pace and then it shifts again into a cool chugging riff with screeching vocals and pulsating bass. A weird effect ends the track and transitions it to:

'Circle of Cysquatch', which is a crashing energetic rocker that is more of the fast technical thrash. There is a robotic voice on this and a really brutal power riff, bass heavy and dark composition.

'Bladecatcher' features guitar picking and builds to a chaotic mid section with nonsensical vocalisations, like a metal chipmunk. A crunching onslaught of Hinds and Kelliher's duel guitar riffing chugs along and then a strange effect like a vinyl album played back n forth leading back to the main riff.

'Colony of Birchmen' is a metal track strung along by riffs and time changes but there is more harmony in the vocals. At 3:20 the time sig is very strange with a well executed lead break. A weird effect transitions this to:

'Hunters of the Sky' and this has great vocals and heavy pounding guitars. The verses are repeated over very speedy riffs. It slows at 3:05 into a nice melodic riff that fades into the next track.

'Hand of Stone' is a moderate speed riff heavy track with high register vocals that are virtually screamed. I am reminded of Testament on this track. There are many twin guitar lead breaks and at 3:10 it gets very heavy and fast and then ends without warning.

'This Mortal Soil' begins with phased guitar and acoustic picking. There is a slower mellow pace with melodic vocals. The pace changes swiftly and suddenly. Mastodon are masters of time sig changes, so tight and innovative moving from 7/8 to 6/4 and 8/6 effortlessly. At 3:30 the pace is very fast with Black Sabbath riffing. The dark, ferocious riffs absolutely blaze at 4:10. The drummer somehow keeps pace and drives the track back to the main riff at 4:36. The next bizarre effect segues into:

'Siberian Divide', which is a more aggressive attack with shifts in pace and then a proggy guitar riff locks in at 4:15. Ferociously original metal. 'Pendulous Skin' is a weird experimental psych prog track with some inspirational passages of instrumental virtuosity. It begins with acoustic picking over an estranged spacey effect. A sublime guitar follows and very weird vocals. Spacey, psychedelic atmosphere makes this track a real stand out and there is even a Hammond sound that shimmers and grinds like the 70s prog days of ELP or Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso. The surrealism stops at 5:13 and there is dead silence and we await a ghost track. But there is none forth coming except at the end of about 22 minutes a voice speaks about downloading, "Keep it real". How weird is that?

In conclusion, this is a definite prog metal album to get hold of. Innovative, experimental, technical, original, strange, heavenly riffs and power metal technical virtuosity. 4 shining stars.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Due to all the praise this album was getting on PA back in 2006, I bought it. Let me tell you was the *last* time I ever bought any music without at least hearing some of it first. This was a (almost) complete waste of my money. After all the praise Crack The Skye was getting I listened to some of it on YouTube...didn't like anything I heard. This album is about 95% metal and 5% prog...and it's not even original metal! The first few times I listened to it I thought: "This part sounds like 80s Metallica...this part sounds like 80s Slayer...this part sounds like 80s Maiden..." Etc. Basically the whole album sounds like what those three bands were doing in the '80s, mixed with some Megadeth and Anthrax and maybe a hint of Sepultura. "Colony Of Birchmen" even sounds like '80s Ozzy sometimes.

The only song I ever really liked and the only reason I still have the damn CD is the last song "Pendulous Skin". Totally different to the rest of the album, this one actually sounds almost like Southern rock. The song is only about 5 minutes but the whole track is about 22 minutes....mostly silence, with some talking at the very end. That trick was used alot in the '90s: have the last song on the CD be about 20 minutes but only the first 3-5 minutes is an actual song, and then a whole lotta silence and....a *bonus* song or some talking or something for the last 2 minutes or so. I didn't know bands still did that kinda thing in the iPod Age. Anyway, it's a good song, I wish the whole album sounded like it! Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens plays organ on the song. Also, that chick from Mars Volta 'sings' on "Siberian Divide". The only other song that even slightly catches my attention is the instrumental "Bladecatcher", mainly for the oddball sound effects.

Listening to this album just makes me miss what Metallica, Slayer and Iron Maiden were doing in the 1980s. 1.5 stars rounded up to 2.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Blood Mountain' - Mastodon (8/10)

Although this is the third Mastodon album I've experienced, I will say that it is the first that I've really felt a connection with; my own rosetta stone so to speak, for this Atlantan metal quartet.

After two sludgy albums- the latter of which propelling Mastodon to the forefront of the metal scene- Mastodon's third record 'Blood Mountain' is the logical follow-up to their breakthrough; an album that takes the sound they became famous with, and turns it on its side. While there is still the aggression and edgy vibe here that gave 'Remission' and 'Leviathan' the power to succeed as records, there is a new, progressive approach the band takes, emphasizing technicality and a deeply psychedelic dimension now.

The sheer 'out there' nature of the album and trippy overtones makes the album special for Mastodon, even when compared to their more generally acclaimed album 'Crack The Skye'. Opening with a number more traditional of the band's older style, 'The Wolf Is Loose' kicks off the album in a fairly deceptive fashion, while it is evident that the band has tightened up their act from 'Leviathan', things are very riff-based and sludgy for the first two tracks. While generally quite good, charged and fiery songs, 'Blood Mountain' doesn't hit its real stride until 'Sleeping Giant' (the third track) rolls around. The intro sounds like something a dark psychedelic band would do, although the heaviness is still kept in check. From there on in, 'Blood Mountain' continues to develop it's unique sound.

'Capillarian Crest' shows the album's blistering technicality, a trait more often attributed to progressive metal than any sludge act out there. The weirdness culminates with the odd instrumental 'Bladecatcher', whose freakishly chaotic nature features electronic ramblings that almost sound like WALL-E (yes, of the Pixar film) is doing a guest feature. My personal favourite track on the album is 'Colony Of Birchmen', which seamlessly flows between deep grooves and more emotionally resonant sections.

Sporting their newfound fame, there are also a couple of very notable guest vocalists on the album. Of most interest to the metalhead would be Scott Kelly, of post-metal titans Neurosis. Also here is Cedric Bixler-Zavala of latin-tinged prog rock band The Mars Volta, an overt statement by Mastodon and their new alignment towards psychedelic music. Unfortunately, neither of these vocalists are used nearly as well as they could have been. While the singing done by the band members of Mastodon works quite well here, hearing a part from Zavala beyond some ambient wailing in 'Siberian Divide' would have made it quite a bit more than being merely worth having the guest's names on the packaging.

'Blood Mountain' has plenty of fantastic moments and a very fresh sound for metal, but it does so at the expense of cohesion, a problem that would later be fixed by 'Crack The Skye'. Partially due to the fact that the album is so ambitious with its sound, the album often feels very over the place, and many of the transitions between tracks feel half-baked and ineffective.

The fact remains however; before listening to Mastodon's 'Blood Mountain', I did not readily consider me a fan of the band, even a mild critic of what I perceived to be a fairly overrated act. After hearing the band in their element here however, I have been able to appreciate the band as a whole, and especially their most musical work 'Crack The Skye' so much more. An excellent, adventurous piece of work.

Review by Warthur
3 stars I've never been too hot on Queens of the Stone Age, so to detect a glimmer of their influence on Mastodon's Blood Mountain (even before I realised Josh Homme was guesting on Colony of Birchmen) was an unwelcome turn of events. Mastodon's bid at creating a crossover piece which would bridge the gap between the sludge and progressive metal they'd built their sound on and the broader commercial audience the success of Leviathan had brought them tantalisingly close to doesn't quite work, and whilst I can't blame Mastodon for giving it a shot at a mainstream breakthrough, equally I respect the fact that they backed away from this particular stylistic departure when they realised it wasn't quite taking.
Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars Before you decide to listen to Mastadon's Blood Mountain you need to ask yourself a question: how much metal sludge, thrash, and slop do you like with your prog metal? If the answer is, "a lot," then you're in for a treat. Blood Mountain delivers. If you like your metal crisp, melodic, dynamic, emotive, or thought provoking, then take heed... Blood Mountain is a noisy and violent slap to the face that will not appeal to everyone.

Mastadon knows how to kick-ass. Every second of this album feels precisely arranged to do just that. However, the band has decided that their style should hide the precision playing, time signature changes, and intense instrumental breaks behind a wall of tuned-down fuzz and crunch that just makes the album sound sloppy. Each band member sounds busy for the sake of being busy, and after several listens I was left wondering what the standout moments were.

Some people love this sound, as you can see in the high ratings for this album, but to me the few moments of genuine creativity are lost in the noise, and it literally hurts my ears to try to find them.

In a way, I guess that's actually a pretty cool compliment to pay a heavy metal album, but if I'm going to subject myself to gruff violence - like someone kicking my chair for 50 minutes - then the pay-off better be high, and Blood Mountain simply isn't interesting enough.

A heavy metal fist held high for those that want to punish themselves with Blood Mountain's bombardment of shredding riffs and indecipherable lyrics, but I'll go back to listening to the other, more interesting metal groups out there.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Latest members reviews

5 stars For me this is the first Mastodon masterpiece, being Crack the Skye the other one. Crack the Skye is often said to be a splendid LP by almost everyone, but Blood Mountain seems to have much less recognition, something that I think is unfair because the two albums are on the same level of quality ... (read more)

Report this review (#2649441) | Posted by eduardico21 | Saturday, December 4, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 As its recognition by critics and public has increased, Mastodon has obtained the freedom to express the sound they actually propose. Thus, while in Blood Mountain you will find the sound of heavy and overwhelming his two predecessors albums, also see that this quartet is taking a step ... (read more)

Report this review (#942047) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Trample! Trample! TRAAAAMPLE!!! Holy mackerel, Mastodon! You're trampling my mind like an enraged Cysquatch after blunt knife castration! That's one of the most energetic albums to ever emerge from sludge, or even whole modern metal scene. I got into Mastodon's music not so long ago and I mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#626372) | Posted by bartosso | Saturday, February 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I really don't see this as much of a step up from Leviathan but as more of the same from the band at the same spot in their evolution. The two albums share most of the same strengths and weaknesses. With that being said, I thought Leviathan was one the best metal albums of the 21st century s ... (read more)

Report this review (#452423) | Posted by Gyges | Thursday, May 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Blood Mountain is one the least beloved mastodon albums, it's quite unfortunite, all i ever hear about is crack the skye -- which in its own right is a funomanal record, dare i say near flawless, but Blood Mountain itself is somthing completly different. You hear the band becoming more and ... (read more)

Report this review (#286467) | Posted by DASistGrantTeeL | Monday, June 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This forest is growing faster than I can tell. Mastodon's third album, and in my eyes their weakest, although still excellent! The songs seem to still be very sharp and heavy. With almost thrash style metal creeping in at times. I do feel that the writing and vocals took small hits, but it is ... (read more)

Report this review (#208803) | Posted by Alitare | Thursday, March 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Mastodon, metal's poster child. Why are they here? Amazingly dense drumming, complex guitar riffs and puzzlelingly weird structure. The Wolf Is Loose, on with the drum fills. So far it sounds like a trash metal band. The singing, to be honest, is horrible. It couldn't sound any worse. This ... (read more)

Report this review (#176197) | Posted by Treasure | Sunday, July 6, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The record can be described in one word: primal. It is seems to be about beasts, savagery, totemic symbolism, shamanic incantations, lycanthropy, and man's struggle against nature. So it is a concept album, with something vaguely like a main character, and something vaguely like a plot. The lyrics ... (read more)

Report this review (#162582) | Posted by Hirgwath | Sunday, February 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars OK, clearly not an excellent addition to any prog music collection, but a great one to any progMETAL collection. As a big fan of metal, definitely not just progressive, i consider Blood Mountain a masterpiece, but it might not appeal to fans of Dream Theater, Queensryche or so, but fans of Ope ... (read more)

Report this review (#157842) | Posted by delirium | Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Best song: Sleeping Giant Highlights: The Wolf Is Loose; Sleeping Giant; Colony Of Birchmen; Hunters Of The Sky; Siberian Divide; Pendulous Skin Mastodon's 2006 album is, in my humble opinion, not only their best (yet) but also one of the best progressive metal albums ever. With "Blood Mountai ... (read more)

Report this review (#132196) | Posted by mobber89 | Tuesday, August 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars THE FUTURE OF METAL! Mastodon are a band with a very unique, very big sound.The name is apt. Powerful, driving guitar lines, growling vocals and most importantly, fantastically complex, fast drumming full of bulldozering rolls that are the real driving force of the music. The drumming of Bra ... (read more)

Report this review (#118388) | Posted by Kid.A | Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Mastodon have created a fantastic brand of prog/tech metal and this would be my number one metal record of 2006. There are no weak songs, but obviously some stand out more than others. Best Songs--- The Wolf Is Loose: A blistering opener with fantastically manic vocals - 10/10 Crystal Skull ... (read more)

Report this review (#116501) | Posted by Siberian_Khatru | Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Mastodon's third album is without a doubt the album of the year for 2006. This band has been called the new Metallica by many metal publications, and I have to agree. There has not been a metal band as exciting and groundbreaking as this since the glory days of Metallica in the 1980s. This ... (read more)

Report this review (#104640) | Posted by Vatreni | Wednesday, December 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Mastadon simply is not my style. Personally, I find one of the most facinating parts of music (and especially in Prog) the vocals. They really capture you and bring you into the song so much more. Look around at the other Prog vocalists: John Anderson, Peter Gabriel, even the harder acts h ... (read more)

Report this review (#94075) | Posted by proghairfunk | Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another very strong album from Mastodon. Once agian they've managed to up the musicianship and diversity and produce one huge record. While Leviathan had pretty much one coheisive sound, Blood Mountain finds the boys experimenting with multiple styles that range from Power metal to hardcore, ... (read more)

Report this review (#93640) | Posted by xenuwantsyou | Friday, October 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After seeing the confusion this guys made with Dream Theater and seeing this album good ratings i decided to give this them a try. To be honest, i won't even try their other albuns. The progressiveness of their music is restricted to boring and annoying musicianship. Poor lyrics, weak vocals (th ... (read more)

Report this review (#93634) | Posted by Benjamin_Breeg | Friday, October 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A great album, a true masterpiece of modern prog metal. Mastodon has basically become the Opeth of America. The mix of clean/growl vocals strikes the same chord in me that it did when I heard Akerfeldt do it. Keep in mind, the actual sound of the vocals is much different between Mastodon and Opet ... (read more)

Report this review (#93540) | Posted by enteredwinter | Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Mastodon was called the next big thing in metal when they released Remission. Mastodon was called the new Metallica when they released Leviathan. Now they have a new album, an even better album then their other albums and I'm yet to see what titles there is going to next. The new Beatles? Perh ... (read more)

Report this review (#93529) | Posted by Jochem | Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Welcome to Blood Mountain. Mastodon are back with their latest release, the follow up to their masterpiece in the eyes of many, Leviathan. A great deal of the metal community, and of course their fans in the prog community were worried about their major label signing, and just the idea of try ... (read more)

Report this review (#93528) | Posted by lightbulb_son | Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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