Under Review

Mastodon

Blood Mountain

Warner Brothers/Reprise

Review By Will Pedley


2004’s Leviathan, Mastodon’s second album, has been rightly heralded as one of the best metal albums in recent years. Their fusion of thrash, death, stoner and prog-rock coupled with adventurous songwriting and impressive technical dexterity has even led to some suggesting that they’re the future of heavy metal. Having set the benchmark so high with their previous opus, the weight of expectation bears heavy on their shoulders, and with its follow-up Blood Mountain, they do not disappoint.
This is a very dense record that demands repeated listens just to get your head around its dizzying complexity. Even though none of the songs exceed the 6-minute mark, tracks like “Capillarian Crest” and “Hunters of the Sky” contain more riffs and time changes than there are in some bands’ entire albums. Considering their prog-rock leanings, it may come as a surprise that most of the tracks are relatively short, but the album flows as one cohesive piece with many of the songs fading into the next, tied together by the continual lyrical concept.
Prior to recording this album, when Mastodon made the jump from the much-respected indie label Relapse to major Warner Bros, there were the usual tedious cries of ‘sell out’ from the underground metal community, the worry being that they might tone down their musical onslaught to make themselves more palatable to a wider audience. Fortunately, this is not the case. If there has been any shift in their approach, it has only been to focus their style, melding the different subgenres of metal in their musical repertoire into a more unified sound.
Despite the pretentious naysayers, it can only be a good thing that a band of this quality will be brought to the attention of more people, as they certainly provide a favourable alternative to the homogenized emo and metalcore bands that flood the market and poison the minds of young, burgeoning metal fans. They might play the devil’s music, but thank God for Mastodon.