I’ve been a huge Mastodon fan since I heard Remission in 2002. They have been one of the few bands that has been able to create just what they want. There are some people that are not into their evolution, but if you really delve into their catalog you’ll be able to see how great they really are! This is the order of their albums from not the best to the best.
Mastodon are one of the few bands to be able to do what they want and exist on a major label. Their music has evolved from straight up sludgy metal, to evoking the progressive rock spirit. Evolution is a major key to survival in music. Playing the same things over and over make things stale and stagnate. Mastodon had a misstep of sorts with their previous album The Hunter, but are on the track to redemption with their new album Once More Round The Sun. This new album at first isn’t as captivating as Crack The Skye or Leviathan, but after a few listens it starts to pull you in. There is still the elements of 70’s rock, bits of prog, and touches of their classic sludge tone throughout the album. The production is crisp and sleek without being over produced. Nick Raskulinecz really was able to capture what the band has become just as their previous work with Matt Bayles (Remission, Leviathan, Blood Mountain) and Brendan O’Brien (Crack The Skye). Only on The Hunter with Mike Elizondo was the magic lost. The 11 tracks on this new album have a more consistent flow making it seem like an album rather than a group of songs, even though that band has said there is not concept to this album.
Starting off the album is “Tread Lightly” a very solid opener with lots of melody but keeps a “heavy” structure. The ending solo is strong and trails off perfectly into the next song. “The Motherload” has a very cool dueling harmonic guitar riff. The chorus is catchy and full of melody even prompting a bit of a sing along. The guitar solo in the song is reminiscent of something that would be on an album from the 70’s. “High Road” starts simple chunky riff that sets in the groove of the song. This song has sort of Leviathan vibe but more melodic. Live “High Road” is a gem. The title track “Once More Round The Sun” has a Thin Lizzy influence written all over it. The vocal melody even sways that way during the verses. If you can imagine Thin Lizzy being a prog rock band, this song would definitely be in their catalog. “Chimes At Midnight” has a Blood Mountain vibe to it. The rhythm of the song is very percussive. This song live, like “High Road” is great, if not better than the latter. “Asleep In The Deep” is a very laid back mellow and melodic rock song. “Feast Your Eyes” is a heavier jam with gang of vocals during the chorus. “Aunt Lisa” is a very strange song for Mastodon. The structure and sound of the song is all over genres and influences and features guest vocals from the band The Coathangers. “Ember City” is just an average song. It really doesn’t do anything with the exception of the melodic chorus.. This song and “Aunt Lisa” they are the two weakest tracks on the album. “Halloween” is another song that has the 1970’s written all over it. The groove of the rhythm is solid and the highlight of the song is the rocking guitar solo. Closing out the album is “Diamond In The Witch House” which features guest vocals from frequent guest Scott Kelly of Neurosis. The song has a Crack The Skye meets Neurosis Times Of Grace vibe to it. Scott Kelly always delivers on his songs with Mastodon and this one is no different.
All in all this is a solid album. Mastodon seem to be heading back in the right direction. After listening a few times, there is definitely a theme present through the record. On the scale of 1-10, I’d give this album an 8.
In anticipation of the new album by Mastodon, entitled “Once More Round The Sun” here are the first 2 tracks released from that album. When I saw Mastodon live recently, they played them and in classic Mastodon form, these songs are beasts live. I present to you all, “High Road” and “Chimes At Midnight.”
There are certain bands that are a must see live. The albums they create have the ability to transcend reality and their live shows take that reality even further. Mastodon have been doing just that for me since I saw them back when their album Remission was released. Every album they upped their game and pushed the limits of what they can do in the studio and in a live setting. May 2nd was no different. Mastodon wasted no time during their 90 minute set to deliver one of the strongest live shows they’ve done since Crack The Skye was released. Their 17 song set was highlighted by the inclusion of songs such as opening with “Hearts Alive,” “Crusher Destroyer,” “Naked Burn,” “Aqua Dementia,” and “Oblivion.” The two new songs they played “Chimes At Midnight” and “High Road” sounded great, especially “High Road.” Instead of banter between songs, they let the music do the talking. The light show they has while they played had a bit of a psychedelic vibe to it and it matched perfectly with their set. Vocally, their past shows have been underwhelming, but it seems that with the proper vocal training, they have managed to pull off these songs in a much better light.
Also playing this fine evening was Gojira. Their loud bombastic assault has been talked about for years. As a live band they have the ability to steal the show away from the headliner (recently on their tour with Slayer, they did just that). Gojira’s set went by fast but was a great and fulfilled all that the mid opener slot is meant to be. Certain tracks played like “The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe,” “Oroborus,” and “Vacuity” got the crowd banging their heads. Their sound from album to live sounds identical, and all in a good way. Opening the entire show was Kvelertak. They are the perfect opening energy type band. Armed with three guitars and vocals only sung in their native Norwegian language, it’s hard not to be captivated by them.
Mastodon truly owned the night. The diverse set list that was played really balanced out a great evening. Their new album Once More Round The Sun comes out in June. Club Nokia on the other hand isn’t the greatest place to see a show. The layout and design puts a bit of a hinderance on viewing and listening. But I refused to let that get in the way of enjoying the show.
When creating an album, a lot of bands have a thought in their mind while writing that certain songs would sound great if they could get someone from one of their main influences to sing on that song. Mastodon has done that constantly. One of their big influences is Neurosis and they have managed to get Scott Kelly to sing on 5 of their albums and songs (Leviathan, Blood Mountain, Crack The Skye, The Hunter, Once More Round The Sun, and Emperor Of Sand. Scott’s vocals are very prominent in the mix and it fits so well with the music that the guys in Mastodon have created. It seems as though Scott is the unofficial fifth member of the band. Perhaps one day Scott will just do an entire album with Mastodon. Below are the songs in which they have collaborated on. Enjoy!!!
Aqua Dementia from Leviathan:
Crystal Skull from Blood Mountain:
Crack The Skye from Crack The Skye:
Spectrelight from The Hunter:
Diamond In The Witch House from Once More Round The Sun: