Review Summary: With this release, Mastodon has proved that they are the current masters of Prog. Progressive fans across the world are dying to see what the quartet brings next.
Mastodon, the Progressive/Sludge Metal band that formed in 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia, takes an enormous risk when they release Blood Mountain. In a world where pop punk and punk rock are the dominating music genres, a Progressive/Sludge Metal album may not be the best choice for a band attempting fame among the American Public, but Mastodon clearly proves this statement wrong with the release of this truly incredible album. Mastodon may be the next Dream Theater.
TRACK 1: THE WOLF IS LOOSE: The opening track of Blood Mountain is clearly one of the strongest musically. The track starts out with a swift drum fill by drummer Brann Dailor, which immediately grabs the listener's attention. This drum fill is then followed by some excellent screams, and an interesting guitar riff. As the song goes on, we get to Mastodon's trademark, which is breaking into a sharp riff towards the end of the song. They hit the nail on the head with this riff and follow up on it quite nicely. From 2:04-2:24 we hear one of Mastodon's most interesting riffs, accompanied by brilliant drumming from Dailor, as always. The track finishes with yet another intriguing riff and fill-heavy, machine-gun drumming from Dailor. 9/10
TRACK 2: CRYSTAL SKULL: The second track from Blood Mountain is a peculiar yet musically intriguing song.
The track begins with some odd percussion that undoubtedly will seize any listeners attention. After the drum beat is yet another creative riff from Mastodon accompanied by Troy's odd vocals. Troy jumps around in an odd pattern vocally for the first part of the song which may considered a musical fault, however, Mastodon greatly makes up for this possible musical blemish by implementing some of their best guitar riffs on to this track. Riffs like the ones from 1:13-1:19, 2:25-2:37 are some of the best that Mastodon has ever spawned. Following the second riff, is a guitar solo, YES A MASTODON GUITAR SOLO. Following the speedy solo is a repetition of the intro riff, a very proggy move by Mastodon. Although the vocals on this track are a little obnoxious in the beginning of this track, it doesn't really drain from the musical excellence of the song itself. Another great Mastodon song. 8.5/10
TRACK 3: SLEEPING GIANT: The third track from Blood Mountain may just be the best song Mastodon has ever recorded. The track begins with a brilliant, slow, yet emotionally moving intro, possibly the most beautiful intro in Mastodon's catalog. Following the intro is an excellent verse, which is then followed by a repetition of the intro riff, but the riff is altered a bit and becomes a little midsection solo. As the song progresses, we get to 4:40. From 4:40-5:36 is quite possibly the darkest and most spacey passage Mastodon has ever written. This track makes an excellent first impression and should leave the listener with their jaw on the floor. 10/10
TRACK 4: CAPILLARIAN CREST: The fourth track from Blood Mountain is a very proggy tune. Following YET ANOTHER great intro riff we get two verses paired some ear-piecing screams. Following the two verses, Mastodon goes out on a little adventure, a digression, if you will, and capitalizes on the intro riff by editing that riff and adding to it. This digression is accompanied by some fast-paced time changes from Dailor. When Mastodon comes back from their vacation at around 2:35 they prove that they are masters of prog simply because of the timing of the excellent transition. 9/10
TRACK 5: CIRCLE OF CYSQUATCH: There is not much to say about the fifth track from Blood Mountain, simply because it has it has many goods and bads. After, yes, I swear, another monstrous and swift intro riff, the song keeps itself safe and repetitive for about a minute. However, at 1:35, Troy Sanders does something incredible. He uses a voice pedal to wake up the sleepers he who may have fallen asleep after the first minute following the technical intro riff, which was a huge risk. This marks one of the most innovative and interesting moments on Blood Mountain. The voice pedal and the final third of the song saves the track from being mediocre. 8/10
TRACK 6: BLADECATCHER: Track six on Blood Mountain is perhaps the most controversial. Following ANOTHER incredible intro riff which features a dual assault of acoustic brilliance, the song breaks into a fast-paced, heavy and odd composition. While some mistakenly think that the random noise in the background are vocals, the noises happen to a variety of effects. Although this track is beyond strange, it is surprisingly entertaining and highly original. 9/10
TRACK 7: COLONY OF BIRCHMEN: Track seven, the Grammy nominated Colony of Birchmen features some great riffs, but a little too much repetition of that main riff which wasn't that great to begin with. One aspect of this song that makes it great, however, is the beautiful main solo which stands out as the best solo on the album, competing with the Hand of Stone solo and the Crystal Skull solo. Although this is definitely not the track from this album that should have been nominated for a Grammy, it is still not a weak track at all. 8.5/10
TRACK 8: HUNTERS OF THE SKY: Track eight from Blood Mountain is one of the most underrated songs on the album. This song has it all; an epic intro , some great riffs, and the divine drumming of Brann Dailor. Although the song is a little to repetitive at times, it's pure heaviness is consistent throughout and the fading away riff at the end is sludgy and thick. Although Hunters of the Sky is one of the weaker tracks musically, it is too heavy to forget.
TRACK 9: HAND OF STONE: Track 9 from Blood Mountain is with out a doubt, the most underrated song on the album. The pure sludge content of the riff at the beginning is uncontested. From 1:09-1:27 is one of the best riffs on the album, it's an interesting play on the major scale. This song also features the fastest solo on the album and it's always nice to hear the rare yet complex Mastodon solo. This song is one that you should not miss if you are a fan of Mastodon or Progressive Metal. Brilliant track.
TRACK 10: THIS MORTAL SOIL: Simply put, 10/10. I can't begin to explain with words how amazing this track is. 10/10. 10/10. 10/10.
TRACK 11: SIBERIAN DIVIDE: Although Track 11 is considered to be one of the weaker tracks on the album, yet again, the intro pulls you in. The positive aspect of this track is that it goes back and forth between a light and heavy style, which definitely is a plus for this album. There are some very odd uses of instruments on this track, which is another huge plus. This track seems to remind me of the heaviness at times present in Hunters of the Sky. Great song. 9/10
TRACK 12: PENDULOUS SKIN: What can I say about the final track of one of my favorite Progressive albums? Pendulous Skin starts out with a magnificent acoustic passage that runs collides with a country-like passage. This is a strange song, but then again, Mastodon is strange (not that that's a bad thing.) This song is a little annoying at times, and is again, very odd, but the beautiful ending solo is a great way to finish to the album. One major negative of this song is that about 16 minutes of it's 22 minutes is pure silence followed by the final minute of a fan talking. Very strange track.
PROS: Every song has a unique set of riffs
No song on this record is like any song from any other band
Creative use of instruments
CONS: The vocals are a little too odd at times, and take away from the vocal quality
This Mortal Soil
Hand of Stone
The Wolf is Loose