Review Summary: A stone throw away from oblivion.
This album has a whole lot of versatility to it. It starts of with this spacey thrash sound in "Oblivion" as if you can picture falling into a vortex as the song transitions to a more sludge sound that is traditional to Mastodon but this time it is a lot more watered down which is usually a set up for disaster in most sludge metal albums but in this they executed every transition perfectly while containing a core mastodon drum beat that we all know and love. The guitars are as technical as ever just with more melody than riff.
As it progresses the songs solos get more and more melodic and in a very stylish way that the back to back licks. As the album progresses to the second track "Deviations" it offers a combination of groove, melody and symphony all in one place which in most sludge metal bands is hard to come by. The melodies are unforgettable and the solos are melded with the song so well it is like falling through the vast corners of space.
The album then slows down to a melodic trip and some weird grunge chord chorus that seems sudden at first and a bit queer but as the song progresses in fuses and it becomes a trend of beauty that is so unique you get captivated by the grooves and transitions that are so bizarre that it compiles to a great song of as it states "Quintessence."
Then the album hits its high point at the fourth and longest song "The Czar." This song transitions from a spacey intro that seems like a Lullaby to a soft melody of guitar as it plays into its main beat and groove which will forever stand as an iconic piece by this great band. The song is as if "Pink Floyd" went metal, this song has the lyrical content of symbolical and personal value which goes along with the groove that the drums and phenomenal bass provide, and that's just the beginning. As the song progresses it slowly picks up into a harder version of the melody and its aggression shines through as you reach the core of the universe the somewhat "Leviathan" trademark melodic grove rhythms come to life to bring power and velocity to the song as it builds up seeming like you are in the most intense portions of space until it drops down to a lower calm until picking you up almost immediately and lowering you to an equilibrium of melody and soft grooves with an amazing solo that does more than shine through to the albums main feature as it travels to another groove and back to the original melody.
The theme of space is something strongly emphasized in this record. It holds a strong connection to the stars above and the album stays at the level it reaches after "The Czar." The album is overall trippy metal and this album in my opinion is their landmark as a masterpiece of an album. My personal favorite Mastodon record it has so much to offer on such a small track list and I highly recommend it to every metal-head. This album is a stone throw away from oblivion.