Mastodon
Once More 'Round the Sun


3.0
good

Review

by jordan. CONTRIBUTOR (65 Reviews)
June 21st, 2014 | 40 replies


Release Date: 06/24/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Twisting, Turning, Through the Motions

There was a time when Mastodon were just about the most exciting thing in metal. Not content to simply mimic their peers, often either busy playing catchup with Converge and presenting themselves as Rocky Horror lookalikes, Mastodon grew an identity solidified by themes of catharsis (Remission), Moby Dick (Leviathan) and the great beyond (Crack the Skye). As metals newest stability, expectations became lofty after the heavenly encompassing concept of their opus Crack the Skye, and Mastodon delivered with their most straightforward release at the time, The Hunter. Bringing further success for the band, it makes sense that they may expect lightning to strike twice with the formula on its follow-up Once More 'Round the Sun, and while it may be one of the years best active rock releases, by Mastodon's standards it constitutes something of a disappointment.

It's clear that all the critical praise that's been heaped upon them has been taken to heart, with Once More 'Round the Sun sounding more like an obligation than a true statement or projection of beliefs. Where songs on previous albums felt tied together under an overarching thematic consequence ("Oblivion"'s grand declaration of armageddon, "Blood & Thunder"'s orders to riot), "Tread Lightly" is left to function as little other than a song amongst 10 other songs. Its vocal hook is infectious and its central guitar riff is absolutely enormous- but it just doesn't reach and command you like their concept records ever did (or The Hunter, for that matter). Devoid of much in the way of complexity, it's deceptively representative of what Mastodon do for a living. Asides from the occasional "Aunt Lisa" or "Asleep in the Deep" that throw up a belligerent middle finger to convention, the album relies too much on simplicity with the likes of "The Motherload" and title-track the unfortunately conventional stand-outs.

This is a testament to Mastodon's enormous standard however that when they're performing by-numbers they're still trumping most other bands in their field. Lead single "High Road" is the best example of this, as it shows how little a decent riff and vocal hook can take this band; applied as many times as is done, Mastodon make sure to at least master their simplistic trade. Of course it's never particularly surprising but in terms of meat and potatoes rock, Once More 'Round the Sun is of a higher pedigree than most releases we'll see this year. It's a shame that diversity and a artistry is shoved overboard in favour of the escalating radio presence.

When it comes down to it however there's very little here that is explicitly unlikeable. In fact, if there is an overall issue it's that Once More 'Round the Sun is just too likable. Unfortunately, with success comes the obligatory shedding of uniqueness that once defined the band, and Mastodon are unfortunately now caught in a conundrum of attempting to satisfy 2 vastly different audiences. When all is said and done, Once More 'Round the Sun, besides being a bleak summation of intent, is Mastodon doing what they do over and over again. Thankfully they are masters of what they do and they make it enjoyable; whether this will sustain their career to album number 7 though is another conundrum all together.



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user ratings (905)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


3170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey! Ho!
here we fucking go.

feedback appreciated.

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TheBarber
June 21st 2014


2041 Comments


awesome review dude, pos

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Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


15003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review, agreed with a lot of this.

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Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


3170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cheers :p

Toondude10
June 21st 2014


4304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Your third review in a row that you rated a 3 on :P Just felt like pointing that out.

Wonderful read, I've been curious to check these guys out but never really got the time or the memory to do so. Killer album cover though.

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Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


3170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this isn't a bad album to try but they've got much better stuff that's far more representative of their style

Toondude10
June 21st 2014


4304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm sure since Leviathan is their highest rated album on the site.

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


3170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'd roughly rank the albums
1. Crack the Skye
2. Remission
3. Leviathan
4. The Hunter
5. Blood Mountain
6. Once More 'Round the Sun

TheBarber
June 21st 2014


2041 Comments


when are you becoming contrib?

Toondude10
June 21st 2014


4304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They start the applications for staff/contrib promotions during the beginning the of they year if I remember correctly.

TheBarber
June 21st 2014


2041 Comments


I think it's a tad more regular than that but yeah

Toondude10
June 21st 2014


4304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well I haven't been here for that long so I'm not entirely sure.

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


3170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll certainly apply if the chance arrives

Mythodea
June 21st 2014


1489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very good and interesting review, kept short and with substance! Pos'd.

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NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


7122 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They start the applications for staff/contrib promotions during the beginning the of they year if I remember correctly.


Just commenting as a senior Contributing Reviewer, the powers that be normally run the promotion cycles at the start of the new year to avoid new blood compromising end of year lists. I mean would it really be fair to have your top picks disregarded by a newcomer to the tag, given the new guy had been there a week or so?

On the off chance that you impress the staffers/mods during the course of the year, there will always be that odd 'ghost promotion' for those that really deserve it. But those cases are rare and you must earn them.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


22033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

don't they just do it as and when it's necessary?


iirc jom stated last time that they accept applications throughout the year but no one realises

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Toondude10
June 21st 2014


4304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the powers that be normally run the promotion cycles at the start of the new year to avoid new blood compromising end of year lists.


Yeah that's pretty much what I thought. Not to mention there are very rare cases when a user gets promoted to staff too I believe, though I haven't seen that happen yet.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


7122 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Back on topic, a couple of nit-picks with the review:

Not content to simply mimic their peers, often either busy playing catchup with Converge....


You'd better convey your point by identifying that the "peers" are playing catch up* with Converge...

This can be done with a simple "who are" etc. The way this reads originally you actually make it sound like the peers are irrelevant.

among* 10 other songs.


It's one key-stroke more to write "ten". It's not a math equation but an analytically charged article.

if there is an overall issue it's that Once More 'Round the Sun is just too likable.


um, what?

conundrum of attempting to satisfy 2 vastly different audiences.


As above.

whether this will sustain their career to album number 7 though is another conundrum all together.


As above, and the use of "conundrum" is repeated here, find a thesaurus it will make this final thought something to truly engage your readers.

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2014


3170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

will fix, thanks Nocte :-)

BMDrummer
June 21st 2014


9373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice review, but I liked this album way more than I thought I would.

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