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Mastodon Hushed and Grim album cover
3.67 | 119 ratings | 9 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (43:04)
1. Pain with an Anchor (5:01)
2. The Crux (4:59)
3. Sickle and Peace (6:17)
4. More Than I Could Chew (6:51)
5. The Beast (6:03)
6. Skeleton of Splendor (5:04)
7. Teardrinker (5:20)
8. Pushing the Tides (3:29)

CD 2 (43:13)
1. Peace and Tranquility (5:55)
2. Dagger (5:12)
3. Had It All (5:25)
4. Savage Lands (4:24)
5. Gobblers of Dregs (8:34)
6. Eyes of Serpents (6:49)
7. Gigantium (6:54)

Total Time 86:17

Line-up / Musicians

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

- Kim Thayil / guitar
- Jody Sanders / French horn
- Marcus King / guitar

Releases information

Label: Reprise Records
Format: 2LP, 2CD, Digital
October 29, 2021

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MASTODON Hushed and Grim ratings distribution

(119 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MASTODON Hushed and Grim reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
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.

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.

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.

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)

Review by kev rowland
3 stars I didn't hear Mastodon't debut album, 'Remission', when it was released back in 2002, but did come across 'Leviathan' a few years later and have followed their career with interest since then. Released in 2021, 'Hushed and Grim' was their eighth studio album and their first in four years, following on from 'Emperor of Sand' where I said they were moving into a lighter direction. That has happened again with this release, except this time they have taken it too far and it is hard for me to associate this release with the mighty behemoth they used to be.

Frustratingly, drummer Brann Dailor is having one of his finest times behind the kit, always pushing hard with loads of fills and changes in rhythm and attack, but for the most part the guys in front of him are not doing the same. There are times when they show just what they are made of, but too many when they just sit back, with "Sickle and Peace" being a case in point with some fine guitars and crunch at times, but way too much cleverness and not enough volume at others. This is also a very long album (86 minutes) and in that sense it reminds me of some of The Flower Kings' releases in that some judicious pruning and editing might well have been in order as much of this album just washed over me.

There are times when an artist can keep moving and eventually leave some of their fans behind, and I must admit this is pretty close for me, yet there are times when they really show what they are capable of (such as on "More than I Could Chew") so I live in hope that the next one will be better.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I have a problem with overlong albums. It's rare for a band to come with more than 50 minutes of good music in each release. In the vinyl era, the artists were forced to choose the best material to fill an album, and the "fat" would be used as B-sides or never be recorded at all. When CD arrived, ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#2849930) | Posted by tupan | Friday, November 4, 2022 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2669080) | Posted by eduardico21 | Wednesday, January 5, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It seemed like not so long ago that progressive metal fans were lamenting Mastodon's pivot away from prog- inspired sludge metal and into a more commercially viable riff-happy direction. While 2018's Emperor of Sand signaled a minor but welcomed course correction for the group, Mastodon's latest ... (read more)

Report this review (#2637860) | Posted by ssmarcus | Sunday, November 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars US prog metal big shots Mastodon just released their eight LP, a nearly 90-minute double-album whammy titled Hushed and Grim. I have been following the band since their 2009 breakthrough Crack the Skye and I enjoyed all releases since then, so my anticipation for the new album, that had been describ ... (read more)

Report this review (#2635834) | Posted by lukretio | Sunday, November 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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