by Thor USER (73 Reviews)
July 13th, 2006 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

In these days and times, metal seems to have reached a point where no band can come up with something original, new and fresh and still impress the listeners of the genre. I felt the same way...until I heard Mastodon. Their sound is like no other -- and that's not a bad thing in any way. The band is very "sludgy" in their sound, to say the least. They might remind you of the band Isis in a way, but their musical compositions are much more intricate
than the aforementioned group. Mastodon combines ultra heavy guitar riffs amongst some of the most creative drumming I have ever heard in the metal genre. Top that all off with some added crunching bass work and put some distinctive harsh growls on top and you've got the band in a nutshell. Now you're ready to enter...
Mastodon's Remission

Let's start off on a good note with this review. Musically, this album is exciting, technical, intriguing, and new. I can't think of another band that sounds like Mastodon which I think is the reason why they're getting so much press in the metal community these days. They combine the crunching guitars of death metal with elements of jazz drumming, incredibly harsh vocals and grinding bass reminiscent to that of even punk music. The album is almost completely devoid of any sort of solo, but the songs are interesting enough to keep you listening without noticing. It works quite well. The guitar players Brent and Bill lock in greatly and take charge with their avant-garde style of metal riffing. Their often dissonant and down-tuned riffs always provide something new for the songs and keep the listener hooked. Troy's bass work and vocals are also very important to Mastodon's signature sound. His growls lead the group along in their almost chant-worthy lyrics whilst the rest of the band plows along with their chaotic instrumentals. I've also saved the best part for last. I usually don't think that metal drummers should take charge of a band and I don't think they should be in the spotlight of the songs the whole time. I take that back after hearing Brann Dailor play drums. His work on this album is outstanding, simply put. Brann combines the ultra speed of metal drumming with the impressive technicality to that of old school jazz drumming-style solos. It's inventive, new, and oh-so fun to listen to. All of you drummers out there should be listening to some Mastodon. The only problem that I can really find with the vocals is that you can't really understand them at all, but I think some of Mastodon's lyrics are actually pretty cool if you read them.

There's a common trend among just about every metal album in existence. Just about every album you'll ever buy by a metal group will have most of the band's best material in the beginning, then there is a drone in the middle, and then the band picks it up again and puts some of their better songs by the end. It seems to work because it hooks you in and keeps you attentive until the end where you'll be happy by the end. For the most part, Mastodon falls victim to this on Remission. This problem was later fixed on their sophomore album Leviathan which was completely devoid of any filler. My guess is that the band just hadn't fully matured yet in their sound and just didn't quite find their niche in songwriting yet.

The album hooks you in with the almost very heavy and almost thrashy "Crusher Destroyer". After that short piece of brutality you'll be introduced to my personal favorite off the album, "March of the Fire Ants". This song basically shows what every song on the album should have sounded like. After these two strong tracks are over with the album starts to go in a bit of a lull until the interesting song "Trainwreck" comes on five tracks later. It's a bit of a long time to wait, but this song is worth it. Featuring plenty of clean guitars and quiet vocals, this song sounds extremely evil and kept me interested through all seven minutes of it. There's another short section with somewhat average songs until the last two songs "Mother Puncher" and "Elephant Man" close Remission on a good note.

So should you get this album" I would say yes, but I'd provide a few warnings first. For starters, this album isn't exactly easy listening. It takes a lot out of you and you might even feel tired by the end because of the harsh vocals and crunching guitars, even if you listen to metal. The sludgy tone just makes it feel that much heavier. Secondly, don't buy this album if you're looking for a perfect metal album. It's got a good deal of filler songs in it amongst the stronger songs, so I think you'd be dissapointed if you thought that this album was going to be a metal classic. Other than that, I don't see anything else against it. This album provides a new sound for listeners of the genre and also displays some very impressive musicianship, too.

Highlights of the album:
Mother Puncher
March of the Fire Ants
Where Strides the Behemoth

Final Rating: 3.5/5

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Brain Dead
July 13th 2006


It's time people stopped worshiping Mastodon. I don't have this, but I have Leviathan. Leviathan is nowhere near worth the hype it gets IMO. I applaud you for doing this, Thor. Nice work.

July 13th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Whats wrong with Leviathan??? That album is amazing. The lyrics are great along with the odd time signatures that they do. The guitars and drums are very well done also.

July 13th 2006


This is a good review, although I would have liked to know more about what makes the filler tracks weaker than the others. You've stated that many of the tracks are filler, but what holds them back? Are they just boring to listen to?

Brain Dead
July 13th 2006


To ChrisAdlerisGod: The lyrics are not great. They are all based off of Moby Dick. I don't know why people think concept albums like that are so intelligent, as they are only partly the band's original material. I gave Leviathan a 3, which means that I do like quite a bit about it. But I do not like the guitar riffs for the most part. Seabeast, Island, and I Am Ahab all have rather bland and/or annoying riffs. The vocals are shitty. Hearts Alive is too long and boring.

I know it's going against popular opinion, but I just don't like it.

July 13th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Imo the vocals can be really bad and other times they can really give the song energy like in Blood and Thunder and Seabeast. The guitar riffs have the same affect on me, they can be hit or miss. But what i do like the most are the lyrics and the drumming. They make the album what it is. They give Mastodon a unique sound. But i do respect your opinion.

July 14th 2006


Blood and Thunder is a bad-ass song! Its such a heavy-"party" metal song.. I think leviathan is a very good album but not incredibly incredible

May 5th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Oh dear God, why did I ever give Mother Puncher and Where Strides the Behemoth lower than a 5? This needs to be fixed!

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