MetalBite Review by Allan on 1/7/2005
prior to their 2002 debut Remission
could be likened to a blip on the radar. Today, they might just be compared to a giant sea-beast not unlike that which their new album, Leviathan
, references. With two years of non-stop touring behind them and the chops to pull it off, Mastodon has engraved their name practically everywhere in a relatively short amount of time.
So, why Mastodon? Of all the commercially viable material the underground metal scene has to offer, how did these guys end up picking up the ball? It’s quite simple: balance. While everybody else is hammering out thick, metal/hardcore riffs and shredding their throats to pieces, Mastodon is combining a bit of melody and excellent songwriting within their noisy palette, with the ambition to pull it off.
enthusiasts really have nothing to worry about. Leviathan
, while not a stylistic or progressive departure in much of the sense, offers enough change to at least make listening to either album a noticeably different journey. While Remission
was about as gritty as the mud on your boots, Leviathan
, while maintaining that aesthetic, presents that same idea in a slightly cleaner manner, mostly in regards to the production. The change is hardly drastic enough to detract from the music, however.
easily has its fair share of stunning moments and songs. Probably the greatest thing upon listening to Leviathan
for the first time was actually being surprised and impressed by some of the things that Mastodon has come up with this time rather than merely enjoying it. There is a driving creative force within this band and the end result is more than rewarding. Of course, things such as Brann Dailor’s remarkable drumming and the chemistry between Bill Kelliher and Brent Hines are spectacles to be enjoyed. Most importantly however, the music leaves no doubt that Mastodon is a band that deserves the success and praise that they’ve received.
"Hearts Alive," Mastodon’s thirteen-minute epic, is a clear indication of the abilities of this band, all elements included - the distinct, melodic guitar progressions, thick, mammoth riffing, vibrant clean and screamed vocals, emotion and atmosphere – presented in a tight, excellently composed package. That said, every song, be it the rapid-fire accessibility of "Blood & Thunder" or the unstoppable blow that is "Megalodon," is of the same high quality.
Like they did in the summer of ’02 with Remission, Mastodon’s Leviathan
easily steals a spot as one of the most important and greatest releases of the year. There are a few other big fish in the sea, but Leviathan
is most certainly the one beast the casts a shadow over the rest.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
out of 10