Mastodon
Once More 'Round the Sun


3.5
great

Review

by Ben Kuettel STAFF
June 16th, 2014 | 131 replies


Release Date: 06/24/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mastodon’s most accessible album yet is a freeing listen, proving that they can sound both catchy and adventurous successfully.

Mastodon have continually seen an abundance of praise and admiration in the metal community, due to their unconventional blending of sludge metal and progressive rock. Their signature style in more recent years could be described as mystical, heavy metal. 2011’s The Hunter divided Mastodon’s fanbase, with some declaring that they strayed too far from progressive metal insanity after the adventurous Crack the Skye. This mainstream approach resulted in a rebirth of sorts, keeping to shorter track lengths and more straightforward songwriting. One More ‘Round The Sun continues in this vein by keeping that focus while still indulging in some light experimentation and unconventional decisions along the way. There are no mind-bending odysseys like “The Last Baron” to be found, with the consistency but still sprawling nature of The Hunter becoming even more streamlined overall.

One immediate difference found here is the reliance on catchy choruses. Once More ‘Round The Sun starts out strong with “Tread Lightly” and contains echoes of Leviathan opener “Blood and Thunder.” “The Motherload,” “High Road,” and “Ember City” also feature some of the most melodic choruses Mastodon have ever recorded. This more accessible approach doesn’t always work, as a heavy metal band writing catchy choruses results in some falling flat or being unmemorable. The band don’t seem capable of writing a subpar song though, as each one has at least something enjoyable or interesting going for it. This does not explain the bizarre decision to feature an all-girls choir chanting outro featured in the otherwise solid track “Aunt Lisa.” The missteps are thankfully few and far between though, with the mainstream leanings on here exuding a charming, infectious quality thanks to such energetic songwriting.

Mastodon feature a few slow-burners here as well, one being the best track on the album, “Asleep In The Deep.” It takes its time building to an explosive chorus, with climbing guitar riffs and melodic vocals throughout. The chorus doesn’t come in until the last couple minutes, feeling earned and climactic after such a blissful build-up. The other, “Diamond In The Witch House,” is a corrosive, doomy epic, clocking in at almost eight minutes long. Guest vocalist Scott Kelly from legendary post-metal group Neurosis contributes some tormented shouts to accompany the dissonant guitar riffs and tribal drumming. This track recalls the scarier moments from his band, and serves as a strange ending to a mostly light-hearted affair, by the standards of Mastodon at least.

When taken as a whole, Once More ‘Round the Sun is the band’s most consistent and streamlined release yet. Mastodon sounding this mainstream probably wouldn’t sound much better than what they have presented here. One of the best aspects of it is how strong the songwriting is while being enjoyable in such an accessible way. Many of the tracks, like album highlight “Halloween,” include bombastic outros with classic heavy metal sounding guitar solos that shred their way to the end. Qualities like these hint toward a continuation of mainstream leanings for the band’s future. Whatever they do going forward, there’s no doubt that it will always be an intriguing, fun listen with much to uncover on repeated listens and an open mind.



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user ratings (1660)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2014


16356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

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

Scoot
June 16th 2014


18739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great stuff as always

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014


13100 Comments


good review posd

Digging: Enter Shikari - The Spark

Emyay
June 16th 2014


6280 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


40509 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

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

Sabrutin
June 16th 2014


4432 Comments


So, is this a good entry point for Mastodon?

Digging: Paradise Lost - Medusa

BMDrummer
June 16th 2014


13946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, I'll actually try this now.

BlackTaxi2d
June 16th 2014


211 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: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014


15725 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


4432 Comments


@fromtheinside: Sweet, thank you!

evilford
June 16th 2014


40509 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

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

wacknizzle
June 16th 2014


14516 Comments


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

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2014


15725 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

Mythodea
June 16th 2014


4127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

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: Dixie Dregs - What If

evilford
June 16th 2014


40509 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

oh nevermind then I sit corrected

climactic
June 16th 2014


22291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

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

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
June 16th 2014


14828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

asleep is the best song here

Uranium
June 16th 2014


7543 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just finally getting to this

cmaitland421
June 16th 2014


407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review man. Just finished listening to the record for the first time myself and it's pretty damn great. Love that the guitarwork is more prominent than it was on The Hunter.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2014


7552 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Good review, pos.



Album is fantastic.





One tiny correction:



At some point during the the writing process



Erase one "the"



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