Mastodon is an American heavy metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, formed in 2000 and composed of bassist Troy Sanders, guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher, and drummer Brann Dailor. Their musical style features progressive concepts and unique instrumentation. All four members participate in vocals, creating a unique blend of singing styles and voices.
In 2002 they released their debut album called “Remission”. “Remission” to me was pretty solid debut album that showed how good of musicians Mastodon guys are. But, there is one thing that I did not like on that album and that thing is vocals. For some reason Troy’s vocals on that album never clicked with me. They have some sort of Death Metal-y sound but still they are clean vocals. Everything else about that album was stellar. Bass, guitar work and especially drums. I swear, Brann Dailor is one of the best modern drummers. I would give that album strong 7/10.
But then in 2004 they released “Leviathan” and holy shit what an album that is. Opening song “Blood And Thunder” has one of the best guitar riffs of all time and Troy’s vocals are much better. They still have that sludgy feel but this time they fit really good with rest of instrumentation which is very sludgy too. Every great thing from “Remission” is even better on “Leviathan” which makes this album absolute 10/10 in my books.
One thing about Mastodon always fascinated me and that is how much Pitchfork loves them. There is even a joke about that and it goes like this:
*Mastodon plays open E string*
I mean they absolutely deserve it, but I am still very confused when you consider Pitchfork’s history with very progressive music. Remember, they gave Lateralus 1.8/10 and on top of that Mastodon’s approach to progressive music is mixed with a lot of sludgy influences.
Up until The Hunter all Mastodon albums received universal fans acclaim but with The Hunter and Once More Round The Sun fans were not satisfied with the direction Mastodon decided to take. Their sound slowly started to shift more towards mainstream rock while still holding that signature Mastodon sound that made them unique. Fans were pissed off. And you know what? I actually like “Once More Round The Sun” a lot. I would argue that songs like “High Road” and “Motherload” are one of their best . Mainstream rock desperately needed act like Mastodon is. Because almost everything in mainstream rock sounded absolutely the same. Mastodon gave us breath of fresh air and everyone should appreciate that a lot. Again, instrumentation on this album is amazing. Although I would not say that this is better than “Leviathan” but it is really good still. One thing that I appreciate about this album is Brann Dailor’s vocals. Him and Troy sound very good together. We have songs on Emperor Of Sand where same thing repeats, but we will get into that very soon.
This year Mastodon released their seventh album called “Emperor Of Sand”. So, what do we get with “Emperor Of Sand?