Bill Kelliher (guitar)
Brann Dailor (drums)
Troy Sanders (vocals/bass)
Brent Hinds (vocals/guitar)
Mastodon is the most solidly metal band there is.
No subgenrefication, just metal. Metal their own way. With tons of fills both for guitar and drums, every song is packed with constant variations. Almost every verse sounds like its own break down and the vocals are rarely the focal point of the music. When there are vocals, they take on the role of an instrument fitting with the band rather than the traditional front seat. Every song is packed with melodies contrasted by thumping rhythms and the drums. The drums are perfect. Brann Dailor finds a way to play his comparatively diminutive 6 piece set in such a way that it sounds like one of todayís giant drum sets normally found in metal bands. This band fills the void for every metal fan looking for something new. It caters to just about every metal fan. Nu metal fans can appreciate this as can tr00 metal heads. There is really something for everyone. One complaint might be the lack of guitar solos but, much like Tool, Mastodon focuses more on the group sound than the individual making for 10 solid songs.
Blood and Thunder
Ė Excellent opener. A solid riff and superb drumming and a chorus that contrasts extremely well with an arpeggio like chord progression. A mini solo/fill is in there and flows into a bridge section with some very snazzy snare work. The drummer, from the pictures Iíve seen, does not play on an enormous set like some drummers do yet he makes it sound like he does. The song has an unfortunately standard order but it is short and ends with a great harmonized variation of the main riff.
I Am Ahab
Ė A basic riff opens the song and is split by a fast fill/breakdown. This song is packed with breakdown like features. Lots of fills and variations on the same riff in Mastodon fashion. There is a very melodic bridge with more snazzy drum work. A short song prevents this song from getting repetitive.
[bSeabeast[/b] Ė Oh no. The intro is awesome. Slightly dissonant, very melodic and not too fast. Then the song really starts and takes a step back The vocal melody reminds me of 311 and that is a bad thing. This song goes in between awesome melodic sections and terrible verses. The song has another section that is somewhere in between the two in terms of quality but overall this song is ruined by that verse. It has a great outro which tries to save the song, but fails.
Ė This is a riff packed song. The drums, yet again, are excellent. There is a superb breakdown that some people might mistake for a solo but the guitar mix really isnít high enough and itís just tremolo picking. Excellent song.
Ė Generally singles suck. This one does not. The riff is simple yet excellent. The vocals are the best on the album and some of the best Iíve ever heard. They stand out a bit more on this track and you can really hear the back and forth vocals. The guitars do a nice job of coming together. The drums, again, are awesome. This song really gets you moving. The vocals make me feel paranoid. Excellent work.
Ė This song starts with the same sort of melodic guitar part as Seabeast but better. The drums are superb and when the part changes, it gets better. It has an middle eastern flair to it. There is a very interesting country sounding guitar fill that contrasts the song really well. After that there is some more excellent riffage. A very fast paced song. The drumming is less interesting on this song but very fitting. Not as many interesting fills. The guitars do more of the playing the parallel riffing where they play in 3rds I think but am too lazy to figure it out. It sounds good is the point. This song has some great breakdowns. It has a really bluesy feel to it after that solo.
Ė This intro makes me think hyper nu metal. It sort of bounces and does a build with the bass and drums. And itís ruined. The vocals and guitars turn whiny and make me think of all those annoying Nirvana moments that make you want to break your stereo. If any song on this album could be classified as nu metal, this is it. There are some great parts but this band should not attempt singing. When they start doing their yell/scream the song becomes awesome. The bass is really audible on this song. This is a great song if you can get over the fairly bad singing. There is some decent singing but nothing to write home about. This song makes me feel like a pirate. When you hear him say ďThe shipís arrived" it only amplifies that.
Ė Intro = perfect. A fast guitar dueling guitar part and awesome drums. Then into a variant riff. The vocals are almost black metal. This song is repetitive and switches back and forth between two parts about 6 times. There are little fills thrown in there and the drums really get to show off here. There is a halftime section in the middle with a great guitar part. The interludes in this song make it into a really great song. The song ends with ocean sounds.
Ė Begins with ocean sounds. A great riff fades in. It is basically the band jamming on a theme for the first 2 minutes. Good thing itís a great theme. Then the beast enters. A blasting semi chromatic riff launches in and then the original theme is layered over that. Vocals. Great vocals. The jam theme comes back with monotone sung vocals. It has that Middle Eastern flair again. This time to vocals donít suck. The song builds and then back to that theme. I think they use a slightly distorted 12 string for the part. The song sounds best when they slam a real in your face chord progression over the main theme. This song has been able to take everything Mastodon does right and turn it into an epic. The drums know when to do a cool fill and the guitars do great variations on their riffs. The vocals are great. And the theme. They keep going back and itís great. The best part of it is still when the heavy guitars come in. This is a perfect song. Then, at 7:08 the song takes an interesting turn. New theme with variations and excellent rolling drums. Key changes galore. Then the chords slam in on top of this new theme. This is like two perfect songs back to back. Why that idiot who did the second review never listened to the whole song is beyond me because it easily wins for best song on the album. Then, there is a solo. Itís pretty simple but fits perfectly. Thereís some basic tapping and then an almost shred section that is very bluesy. And then there is the final riff that just goes and jams itself until the end. Awesome.
Ė Reverb and acoustic and tremolo and woah. This song is kickass. One thing Mastodon can do well is make an instrumental that doesnít strike you as being different than their other songs. Itís an evil blues rock tune that sounds closer to Radiohead than any other band. The tremolo and the mild distortion are just a great way to close up. I can hear this song being played live while they thank the audience and just talk at you. If there is one thing I wish for, itís a sample of someone reading passages from Moby Dick over this song. I would kill for that.
This album easily deserves a 4.5/5 Go buy it now.