Mastodon
Once More 'Round the Sun


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ben Kuettel USER (24 Reviews)
June 16th, 2014 | 136 replies


Release Date: 06/24/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mastodon’s friendliest and most accessible album yet sees them at their freest and most inspired in years.

Mastodon have continually seen an abundance of praise and acceptance in the metal community, due to their unconventional blending of sludge metal and progressive rock. Their signature style could best be described as both mystical and relentless. 2011’s The Hunter divided Mastodon’s fanbase, with some declaring they had abandoned their progressive insanity in favor of a more streamlined and conventional sound. The shorter song lengths and absence of distorted or growled vocals certainly didn’t help their case. It ended up being their most consistent and listenable release yet. Possibly the most interesting aspect of One More ‘Round The Sun is Mastodon’s reluctant embrace of mainstream songwriting tropes. Much like The Hunter, it sees Mastodon performing some light experimentation and unconventional songwriting in relatively conventional songs. Track lengths usually stay around the four-six minute length and rarely descend into technical guitar wankery. Consistency seems to be Mastodon’s recent focus, and this album is even tighter than The Hunter. Filler tracks are nowhere to be found and is the first album with a complete absence of interludes or extended filler. Mastodon have never been the best at trimming the fat, but have seemed to finally understand by omitting them completely and focusing on just writing the best songs they can.

One immediate difference found here is a heavy reliance on powerful choruses. Once More ‘Round The Sun starts out strong with "Tread Lightly" and contains echoes of Leviathan opener "Blood and Thunder." "The Motherload" follows suite and tops the opener by having one of their most melodic choruses they have ever written, topped only by "Ember City" later on. At some point during the writing process Mastodon figured out that the best song they ever wrote was "Oblivion." Half of the songs here try to replicate it, particularly the aforementioned "Ember City." While they obviously don’t reach the dizzying highs of their best song, the attempt ends up with most of the album highlights. The change works for the most part but unfortunately results in some truly weak moments, particularly lead single “High Road” and the outro chanting at the end of “Aunt Lisa.” The missteps however are few and far between and represents an improvement from the glaring inconsistencies of past albums.

"Asleep In The Deep" and "Halloween" are mid-tempo rockers that thunder along in technical guitar lines while restraining potential extended jams that plagued earlier releases. Mastodon’s album closers were always an interesting discovery, being anything from the mystical prog jam "The Last Baron" of Crack the Skye to the meditative "Pendulous Skin" from Blood Mountain. "Diamond In The Witch House," clocking in at almost eight minutes long, is a corrosive doomy epic and is the closest the album gets to exhibiting atmosphere. Guest vocalist Scott Kelly’s tortured shouts fit the dissonant descending guitar riffs and tribal drumming, closing out another triumphant and surprisingly fun listen. A few riffs here and there begin to sound a little too familiar as the album plays out, but this quickly dissipates as this record reveals itself to be their most consistent and streamlined yet. One of the best aspects of Once More ‘Round The Sun is how strong the songwriting is in a more mainstream sounding release. The choruses don’t sound like nothing, as they occasionally did in previous releases, and almost always album highlights. Another welcome change is the inclusion of large scale outros punctuated with classic heavy metal sounding guitar solos that shred their way to the end of almost half the tracks. Are they overused to cover up the absence of true uniqueness and mystical atmospheric textures the band were always known for? Maybe. But perhaps Mastodon felt the excessive sludgy intensity that had built their musical backdrop for so long had exhausted itself in favor of a more stripped back rockin’ approach, and the end result couldn’t be more satisfying.



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user ratings (874)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
June 16th 2014


8257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album Stream:

http://www.theprp.com/2014/06/16/news/mastodon-streaming-entire-new-album-once-more-round-the-sun/

Constructive criticism appreciated as always

Digging: The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

Scoot
June 16th 2014


17822 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great stuff as always

Digging: Unearth - Watchers of Rule

fromtheinside
June 16th 2014


18717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yes finally a place to talk about this.

aoty

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2

Mort.
June 16th 2014


3823 Comments


good review posd

Digging: Fugazi - End Hits

Emyay
June 16th 2014


5968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review dude. i still need to listen to this more before i'll know exactly how i feel about this. i think i like the hunter more so far.

evilford
June 16th 2014


22828 Comments


FINALLY A REVIEW FOR THIS YEAH IT'S BEEN OUT FOR LIKE ALMOST A YEAR

Digging: Burial (NL) - Relinquished Souls

Sabrutin
June 16th 2014


932 Comments


So, is this a good entry point for Mastodon?

Digging: Riot V - Unleash The Fire

fromtheinside
June 16th 2014


18717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

actually yes @sabrutin

only song i'm not feeling here is Asleep

BMDrummer
June 16th 2014


8770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good review, I'll actually try this now.

BlackTaxi2d
June 16th 2014


104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"the children’s choir at the end of “Aunt Lisa.”"

i literally WTF'd when i got to this part

anyway, maybe it's because i'm getting older, but i am glad they went for an even more mainstream approach here. album is a definite banger

Digging: As Blood Runs Black - Ground Zero

Calc
June 16th 2014


12252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Ever since Crack The Skye back in 2009, Mastodon have seen an abundance of praise and acceptance in the metal community due to their unconventional approach of throwing numerous genre tropes into a melting pot of mystical musical monstrosity with bizarre imagery and lyrical content to create a truly unique sound of their own."

two things, this sentence is ridiculous, and the words "ever since" mean "starting with" which I don't think is what you meant to say here. Try changing it to something like "from their inception up to crack the skye" or something like that.

Sabrutin
June 16th 2014


932 Comments


@fromtheinside: Sweet, thank you!

evilford
June 16th 2014


22828 Comments


prob gonna get deleted cuz the album hasn't even been released yet

wacknizzle
June 16th 2014


13501 Comments


can't wait to hear this, the one song i heard was soooo good

Digging: This Gift Is A Curse - I, Gvilt Bearer

Calc
June 16th 2014


12252 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"prob gonna get deleted cuz the album hasn't even been released yet"


there's an official stream, have long have you been here and ya don't know that lol

CaptainDooRight
June 16th 2014


29968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

correct you should be fine because there's an official stream

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

Mythodea
June 16th 2014


1141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good Review, have a pos. I intend to write a review myself for this long anticipated album. The only bad thing with your review was that Aunt Lisa's ending is not sung by a children choir, but by the all-girl band The Coathangers. Mastodon have a good relation with them and they also made a hilarious video-clip for them recently. Check it out.

Digging: Orgone (PA) - The Joyless Parson

evilford
June 16th 2014


22828 Comments


oh nevermind then I sit corrected

climactic
June 16th 2014


19441 Comments


when will users learn that having the first review means nothing? especially once staff/contrib reviews start coming out. wouldnt you rather make a more thoughtful review after digesting the album a bit? it leaked like 2 or 3 days ago.

that being said this rev isnt bad per se, but it does feel rushed

also i like the album a lot. 3.5, possible 4 territory

fromtheinside
June 16th 2014


18717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

man aunt lisa is the best



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