15 December 2012
Mastodon - Blood Mountain
When a band drops something that was part of their original identity, does that make them any less relevant? This is a question I come to with this, the 3rd album from Mastodon who are originally from Atlanta, Georgia. For their first two albums and earlier EP the vocals were more shouty and growling. For this they started to actually sing and also made the prog element a little bit more central to the metal - but .
Musically this was a sonic shift in gears from Remission and Leviathan - this was the third album of their element series (Remission being Fire, Leviathan being Water, this being Earth and Crack The Skye being Air) it just seemed to get all the ideas correct. Guest appearances from Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Josh Homme (Kyuss/Queens of The Stone Age), Cedric Bixler-Zavala (The Mars Volta/At The Drive In) & Isiah "Ikey" Owens (The Mars Volta) gave this a sort of different vibe, but not to the distraction of the album it's self.
Tracks like "Crystal Skull", "Sleeping Giants", "Hunters of The Sky" and the epic 22 minute long "Pendulous Skin" give this album more dimensions that the previous efforts (or the next album if the truth be told) and made this a monumental release. Sounding as relevant now as it did back in 2006 it shows that you can actually be more than one thing to different (or the same) people. They are a metal band, and a prog band and a sludge band. Changing the vocals did not change the band at all on this release, it made them stronger and because of that it made them into something more than what they were before. It moved them up a peg in the running order of things and even if the next release was not what I expected (will be looking at that again soon to see if I still feel the same about it), it made them a band to watch even more closer.
If you are new to Mastodon I would recommend starting with Remission and working towards this album, it is the best way to do it. If you already have this, put it on again and enjoy the sound of a band with a purpose and a goal.
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
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