Mastodon is a stoner/prog metal band who hails from Atlanta, Georgia. The four members met and formed at a High on Fire concert. They are among my favourite bands, on the ranks with Metallica, Chimaira, Nevermore, and Megadeth. They are made up of:
Troy Sanders- Bass Guitar, Vocals
Bill Kelliher- Guitar
Brent Hinds- Guitar
Brann Dailor- Drums
I use the track-by-track format, and then move on to pros and cons, and finish with my final opinion. This is a concept album of sorts, basing itself somewhat around Herman Melville’s epic novel Moby Dick. Anyways, on to the review:
1. Blood and Thunder: A slightly distorted and catchy hook opens this track for about five seconds until that same hook is transformed into a heavily distorted metal monster of a song. I really enjoy Troy’s vocals in this track, as they do not front the band so much as back it up. About halfway through, Bill plays an excellent lead riff to introduce the climax of the song. Great opener, great track. Gives you a good feel for the album. 5/5
2. I Am Ahab: A riff that reminds me of the first track kicks this one off. This song is probably the first and only somewhat weak spot of this album. I’m not exactly the biggest fan of his voice in this number, either. I enjoyed the lightly distorted, arpeggiated bridge the most out of the song. Although this is the weakest song on here, I’m not complaining. 3.5/5
3. Seabeast: Wow. This is very likely my favourite track on this album, if not Aqua Dementia. It starts off with a dissonant riff that makes you feel like a jellyfish floating along in the sea. Then it goes into a heavier, more simplistic riff with a clean vocal harmony backing it up. Unfortunately, even when Troy sings cleanly, you still cannot tell what he says. After repeating this once, it launches into a heavy part where Troy’s voice sounds very much like a whale would if whales could sing metal. Overall, I give this song a 5/5.
4. Island: A fast, crushing riff opens Island, and the song never gets lighter or looks back after the start. This song is in the vein of more simplistic extreme metal, as it uses low-string tritones and other uncanny-sounding chords. After this, a more complex riff is introduced, and the song takes a turn for the better. This song, however great it is, would belong more on Remission, as it is not very complicated. 4/5
5. Iron Tusk. Ahhhh, yes. The single. This song’s opening riff is very simple, and is performed in what Mastodon call “drop A". When the riff has been played about 5 times, Bill comes in and harmonizes it in straight thirds. The vocals sound completely random in this song to me, and, once again, his voice sounds “mastodonian". The end of this song gets incredibly dissonant, what with the high-string tritones. Heavy, unrelenting song. 4.5/5
6. Megalodon: This song’s intro is incredible. It is another dissonant riff that makes you feel like a jellyfish floating in the sea. Then Troy comes in, and begins to sing/yell in the most peculiar fashion he can. For some reason, the vocals remind me of “jazz" even though I don’t know what jazz vocals sound like. Then, a nice country lick, courtesy of Brent is played, and takes the song in a different, heavier direction. This song irks me for some reason, so I will give it 4/5.
7. Naked Burn: A nice high string, chugging introduction opens this track. There is too much clean singing in this track for my taste, which gives it more of a nu-metal flavour. The chorus has a nice melodic feel to it, as does the track. This track is more of a sad-sounding ballad than anything else, and if that is what it is intended to be, it serves its purpose well. 3.5/5
8. Aqua Dementia: Every time I listen to this album, I look forward to reaching this track. Some really wicked licks open it, and they are counterparted by some jazzy fills on Brann’s drum kit. This song, though, would not be half what it is without the guest singer, Neurosis’ Scott Kelly. He contributes some high-pitched shrieks, and Troy follows them with his unique yell. When the song slows down and someone (not sure which singer) says “and God will watch it burn, releasing souls," the song is worthy of being called a masterpiece. My review cannot do it justice. An easy 5/5.
9. Hearts Alive: A nice mellow beginning in this song. It fades in with nice, relaxing sea sounds, then some lightly distorted chords. After about two to two and a half minutes of this, it launches into a heavy riff over which Troy yells, as usual. This same formula is followed for about seven minutes, and then a new riff comes in and Bill begins his solo. What a solo it is, too! It is close to four minutes, and is a great and sad-sounding way to close this song off, after twelve minutes. The epic of the album, this gets 4.5/5.
10. Joseph Merrick: This song is incredibly odd. All clean, with lots of organ and jazzy drumming. There isn’t much else to say about this song, though, so I’ll give it 3.5/5.
Overall, I love this album. I highly suggest you buy it, right now. It is for everybody, and is completely worth all twenty dollars.
+Good guitar sound
+Not a bad song on here
+Good bass work
+Good cover art
-Sometimes, Troy’s voice
Content Rating: G. There is no profanity or violence on this album.