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  1. #1
    godsaint is offline FLOYDIAN MEMORIES
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Mastodon: Blood Mountain

    So here it is, what could be the most anticipated metal release of the decade so far, and I know what you're thinking... Surely all the hype is bound to lead to dissappointment? Surely Mastodon must've cracked under the pressure of critical acclaim and the move to a major label and not been able to live up to their reputation as metal revolutionaries? Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to be knocked clean off your high horses, as Blood Mountain is one of the most monumental, immense, mind-crushing, skin-flaying, (insert any number of other superlatives here) compositions ever committed to disc.

    I feel I should point out here, before I have the inevitable accusations of fanboyism thrown at me, that while I found Mastodon's previous album, Leviathan, to be a thoroughly solid and enjoyable listen, I do not believe it to be the revolutionary landmark in metal that every man and his dog seemed to proclaim it, upon its release, to be. However, having listened to Blood Mountain several times, it is readily apparent that this album deserves tenfold the respect and worship lavished upon its predecessor.

    From the very start, the album is incredibly atmospheric. A recent article on the band that I read recently mentioned that the album exudes a mood of desolate loneliness and bleakness, likening it to the atmosphere created by the ever present spooky red sky in early 90s shoot-em-up game Doom. I couldn't agree more with this analogy, as I find it impossible to envision the slow, treacherous ascent of the mountain which the music represents without such a forboding red sky residing above.

    Despite this, listening to the album is rarely depressing. Rooted by the frantic, jazz-influenced, and always inventive drumming of Brann Dailor (surely one of the premier sticksmen in metal, a man whose chaotic beats and fills drive and define the music in a similar way to that of Dave Lombardo of Slayer), and characterised by the varied guitarwork of Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher, Blood Mountain is equal parts uplifting and confusing. At various points during the album we are treated to Thin Lizzy-esque harmony riffs and crushing grooves (notably the intro riff to "Crystal Skull"), thrashy rhythms ("The Wolf Is Loose"), epic, haunting build-ups with hints of acoustic guitar ("Sleeping Giant"), effect-laden spazz-outs (instrumental interlude "Bladecatcher"), and beautiful laid back pieces (the sublime guitar harmonies which usher in "This Mortal Soil"). Also notable is the addition of solos and more prominent lead parts, which weren't as pronounced in the band's previous output, but only add to the insane melting pot of sound found on Blood Mountain.

    While Troy Sanders' bass does little other than lock in with the guitars and provide a solid backing, his vocals (shared in part with Brent) are more melodically orientated than on previous work, encompassing dreamy melodies and harmonies, strong gruff-yet-tuneful roaring, and also the brutal death-roar we know and love. Such increased scope adds further variation to the album, one of the many results of this being that a sort of stoner-rock feel is occasionally brought to the fore, something the band haven't really touched on before.

    Much has been made in the press and internet news items of the collaborations present on Blood Mountain. Prog fans have salivated at the very thought of Cedric Bixler-Xavala of the Mars Volta adding vocals (on "Siberian Divide"), and Neurosis fans have been equally enthused about Scott Kelly's contribution to "Crystal Skull" but to be quite honest, it took repeated listens before I could even pinpoint where they appeared. Only slightly more noticable is the voice of QOTSA frontman Josh Homme, singing a few backing vocals on "Colony Of Birchmen" but still, his contributions are minimal, and the song would still be a distinct album highligh even without his input. To dwell on the guest appearances featured on Blood Mountain is like pointing at the stars and looking at your finger.

    However, such is the overall level of experimentation and variation within the songs, that to try and describe every nuance and element of the sounds on display would take up more pages of text than anyone would care to read, but suffice to say, this is the sort of album you could easily get lost in. Even, dare I say it... a modern day "Dark Side Of The Moon"?

    In short, this is everything that was expected from Mastodon and much, much more. A thoroughly impressive piece of work which anyone with any kind of passion for music should own, and quite possibly a future classic.

    And if I might add, Mastodon is what Metallica was in 80's & 90's

  2. #2
    shsnawada's Avatar
    shsnawada is offline Cyborgs & Pasta
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Raaaaaar!!! Raaaaaaaaaaar!!!!!
    So let me see, whats your review of "leviathan"?

    astodon is the most solidly metal band there is. No subgenrefication, just metal. Metal their own way. With tons of fills both for guitar and drums, every song is packed with constant variations. Almost every verse sounds like its own break down and the vocals are rarely the focal point of the music. When there are vocals, they take on the role of an instrument fitting with the band rather than the traditional front seat. Every song is packed with melodies contrasted by thumping rhythms and the drums. The drums are perfect. Brann Dailor finds a way to play his comparatively diminutive 6 piece set in such a way that it sounds like one of today�s giant drum sets normally found in metal bands. This band fills the void for every metal fan looking for something new. It caters to just about every metal fan. Nu metal fans can appreciate this as can tr00 metal heads. There is really something for everyone. One complaint might be the lack of guitar solos but, much like Tool, Mastodon focuses more on the group sound than the individual making for 10 solid songs.
    Blood and Thunder � Excellent opener. A solid riff and superb drumming and a chorus that contrasts extremely well with an arpeggio like chord progression. A mini solo/fill is in there and flows into a bridge section with some very snazzy snare work. The drummer, from the pictures I�ve seen, does not play on an enormous set like some drummers do yet he makes it sound like he does. The song has an unfortunately standard order but it is short and ends with a great harmonized variation of the main riff.

    I Am Ahab � A basic riff opens the song and is split by a fast fill/breakdown. This song is packed with breakdown like features. Lots of fills and variations on the same riff in Mastodon fashion. There is a very melodic bridge with more snazzy drum work. A short song prevents this song from getting repetitive.

    [bSeabeast[/b] � Oh no. The intro is awesome. Slightly dissonant, very melodic and not too fast. Then the song really starts and takes a step back The vocal melody reminds me of 311 and that is a bad thing. This song goes in between awesome melodic sections and terrible verses. The song has another section that is somewhere in between the two in terms of quality but overall this song is ruined by that verse. It has a great outro which tries to save the song, but fails.
    Island � This is a riff packed song. The drums, yet again, are excellent. There is a superb breakdown that some people might mistake for a solo but the guitar mix really isn�t high enough and it�s just tremolo picking. Excellent song.
    Iron Tusk � Generally singles suck. This one does not. The riff is simple yet excellent. The vocals are the best on the album and some of the best I�ve ever heard. They stand out a bit more on this track and you can really hear the back and forth vocals. The guitars do a nice job of coming together. The drums, again, are awesome. This song really gets you moving. The vocals make me feel paranoid. Excellent work.
    Megalodon � This song starts with the same sort of melodic guitar part as Seabeast but better. The drums are superb and when the part changes, it gets better. It has an middle eastern flair to it. There is a very interesting country sounding guitar fill that contrasts the song really well. After that there is some more excellent riffage. A very fast paced song. The drumming is less interesting on this song but very fitting. Not as many interesting fills. The guitars do more of the playing the parallel riffing where they play in 3rds I think but am too lazy to figure it out. It sounds good is the point. This song has some great breakdowns. It has a really bluesy feel to it after that solo.
    Naked Burn � This intro makes me think hyper nu metal. It sort of bounces and does a build with the bass and drums. And it�s ruined. The vocals and guitars turn whiny and make me think of all those annoying Nirvana moments that make you want to break your stereo. If any song on this album could be classified as nu metal, this is it. There are some great parts but this band should not attempt singing. When they start doing their yell/scream the song becomes awesome. The bass is really audible on this song. This is a great song if you can get over the fairly bad singing. There is some decent singing but nothing to write home about. This song makes me feel like a pirate. When you hear him say �The ship�s arrived" it only amplifies that.
    Aqua Dementia � Intro = perfect. A fast guitar dueling guitar part and awesome drums. Then into a variant riff. The vocals are almost black metal. This song is repetitive and switches back and forth between two parts about 6 times. There are little fills thrown in there and the drums really get to show off here. There is a halftime section in the middle with a great guitar part. The interludes in this song make it into a really great song. The song ends with ocean sounds.
    Hearts Alive � Begins with ocean sounds. A great riff fades in. It is basically the band jamming on a theme for the first 2 minutes. Good thing it�s a great theme. Then the beast enters. A blasting semi chromatic riff launches in and then the original theme is layered over that. Vocals. Great vocals. The jam theme comes back with monotone sung vocals. It has that Middle Eastern flair again. This time to vocals don�t suck. The song builds and then back to that theme. I think they use a slightly distorted 12 string for the part. The song sounds best when they slam a real in your face chord progression over the main theme. This song has been able to take everything Mastodon does right and turn it into an epic. The drums know when to do a cool fill and the guitars do great variations on their riffs. The vocals are great. And the theme. They keep going back and it�s great. The best part of it is still when the heavy guitars come in. This is a perfect song. Then, at 7:08 the song takes an interesting turn. New theme with variations and excellent rolling drums. Key changes galore. Then the chords slam in on top of this new theme. This is like two perfect songs back to back. Why that idiot who did the second review never listened to the whole song is beyond me because it easily wins for best song on the album. Then, there is a solo. It�s pretty simple but fits perfectly. There�s some basic tapping and then an almost shred section that is very bluesy. And then there is the final riff that just goes and jams itself until the end. Awesome.
    Joseph Merrick � Reverb and acoustic and tremolo and woah. This song is kickass. One thing Mastodon can do well is make an instrumental that doesn�t strike you as being different than their other songs. It�s an evil blues rock tune that sounds closer to Radiohead than any other band. The tremolo and the mild distortion are just a great way to close up. I can hear this song being played live while they thank the audience and just talk at you. If there is one thing I wish for, it�s a sample of someone reading passages from Moby **** over this song. I would kill for that.
    A good guess?

    I like a few songs from this album though, especially 'circle of cysquatch'

    " Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.

    But all the girls, who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. "- Book Of Numbers 31:17-18

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    I just love the drummer
    I always thought the good thing about the guitar was that they didn't teach it in school.
    - Jimmy Page

    You run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking, racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death.



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