Review Summary: Mastodon are this generation's Black Sabbath.... bar none, and Blood Mountain sets out to make sure that place on the metal totem pole is not taken from them.
By: Eric Smith (www.thrashpit.com).
Well, it's time for a new CD from one of the forerunners of the new American metal movement. Mastodon made quite a splash in the metal heap when 2002's Remission first came out (made famous due to MTV2's incessant playing of "March of the Fire Ants" off of that album). In 2004, however, the band released Leviathan which showed the band toning down some of their overt chaos enough for focused songwriting and actual lyrical concepts to prevail. Has Mastodon progressed any further on their newest release?
Well the answer to that is a resounding "yes". Not only have they retained their signature "deep" sound on Blood Mountain (Warner Brothers/Reprise) but they have added many new sonic trappings to them as well. First, one of the main things is the adding of an emphasis on clean/harmonized singing, especially on the song "Colony of Birchmen". This is of no surprise to me considering the Neurosis-esque roots this band has had since their inception; they are just now deciding to embrace them more than normal. Also, the presence of guitar solos is quite noticeable as well.
Another noticeable thing on this album is how each song is an entity of its very own. Whether it be the classic Mastodon romper-stomper "The Wolf is Loose", the swashbuckling leads on "Capillarian Crest", or the almost 'Zen' spiritual-clean guitars on the melodic "This Mortal Soul", Mastodon mixes it up perfectly on this album. There is truly a song to suit every mood.
Many will not consider this album a landmark release along the lines of Remission; however, it is a perfect example of a band that is not only maturing as a cohesive unit, but also leading the way when it comes to maintaining the glory of all that is heavy in the mainstream media during this day and age.