Mastodon
Blood Mountain


4.5
superb

Review

by Ben USER (7 Reviews)
June 6th, 2007 | 8 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mastodon continue their tech-metal evolution with a lot of Iron Maiden influence. The result is an album without a single bad song.

Mastodon continued to defy what mainstream rock sounds like with this release. The fact that it features harsh vocals, a rough conceptual story, and musical complexity all goes against what has been popular for the last decade.

When Mastodon released Leviathan, many fans thought it was their pinnacle, and there was no way to top it. After all, it was based on Melville's Moby Dick, featured intricate yet crushing guitar work, the impressive drumming of Brann Dailor, and song structures that would make even the most seasoned metal-head sit up and take notice.

With Blood Mountain, though, Mastodon went into hyperdrive, with a completely original concept (the main character is in search of the Crystal Skull to place at the top of Blood Mountain), intricate stop-start song dynamics, improved vocals (both clean and screamed), and a balanced mixture of fast and slower songs.

“The Wolf Is Loose” is a highlight of the album, and it starts it off on a heavy note. “Capillarian Crest” is sure to be one of the craziest songs you ever hear. The spiraling dual guitar trade-offs are insane enough, but Dailor absolutely steals the show during the break downs; the man has to have at least 3 arms to drum like he does. “Circle of the Cysquatch” is fairly unremarkable except that the opening has one of the eeriest riffs I've ever heard and the ending vocal performance has some creepy foreshadowing of “Colony of Birchmen.” “This Mortal Soil” is easily the most un-Mastodon song Mastodon has ever made, with a spacey intro guitar riff and wailing, out-of-this-world vocals.

There is one thing that is very clear here: when Mastodon made this recipe, they added a lot more Iron Maiden than they did Metallica. Dueling, twisting guitar harmonies are what drives this beast forward; it doesn't lumber along with massive riffs. That leads to one of the few weaknesses: if you're looking for heavy, soul-crushing riffs, don't look here (or take “The Wolf Is Loose” and run). Guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher obviously felt that they needed to step up; the result is the cleanest and most intricate guitar work they've ever done. Bassist Troy Sanders' harsh vocals are infinitely better than on Leviathan, and Hinds has improved his clean vocals to the point where he now sounds like a less-whiny Ozzy Osbourne. Another huge plus is that, while they're not all amazing, there is not a bad song on this album.

Mastodon may not save metal from fan-ignorance, but they're doing their best to push it into mainstream. This album is basically Dungeons and Dragons on metal-steroids. If you've ever been a fan of Metallica, check Blood Mountain out to see the kind of vision and talent that Metallica never had.

Rating: 9/10

Check Out: “The Wolf Is Loose,” “Capillarian Crest,” “Colony of Birchmen,” “This Mortal Soil”



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Comments:Add a Comment 
joh soxe
June 6th 2007


44 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review, although i think that whilst you make some good observations about the album you don't really develop them to an extent that does them justice. like i agree that 'the wolf is loose' is a fantastic song, and that this is an example of metal way beyond the likes of Metallica could go, but i think you could elaborate on the points you use to justify these assertions, such as the high class musicianship and the overall conceptual coherence.

i understand that sometimes it's good to keep a review brief, and as a general summative overview of the album you do a good job. it's just that when there are so many other reviews, many of which give high ratings like you do, it's more interesting if you really clarify your thoughts if you have any new opinions to offer.

and do you think it's a weak point that the album isn't full of crushingly heavy riffs, or do you think that's just a general complaint that a lot of metalheads will make about the album?

sorry if this is like a literary criticism, like i said cool review and i agree with most of it. brann dailor is indeed a modern inspiration to drumming, and i love pendulous skin, displays a different side to mastodon.

LifeInABox
June 6th 2007


3709 Comments


Meh, I don't think Mastodon had any IM infulence, at least nothing blatent.This Message Edited On 06.06.07

Intransit
June 6th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

You are fucking deaf then.

And this album is full of bad songs, with a couple of great ones that somewhat redeem it in the end.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2007


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah okay mr. 4.5 review

LifeInABox
June 6th 2007


3709 Comments


You are ****ing deaf then.
I really can't hear it. Well, at least they aren't doing a ripoff.

Chan, I'm unbanned! Great Success!

Wizard
June 6th 2007


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Intransit,
I really don't hear the Iron Maiden influence at all. I hear more Neurosis than any other band.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Cravinov13
June 7th 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, no Maiden here. Neurosis and Kyuss mostly, some hints of Today Is The Day and so forth.

Slaytan
June 8th 2007


1186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There is no Iron Maiden influence, at least not that I can tell. It seems like you compared Mastodon to Iron Maiden and Metallica too much, or atleast IMO.
I agree with the rating however, this album is a great mix of metal and progressive.



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