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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Death, Heavy, Stoner
1. Crusher Destroyer
2. March Of The Fire Ants
3. Where Strides The Behemoth
4. Workhorse
5. Ole' Nessie
6. Burning Man
7. Trainwreck
8. Trampled Under Hoof
9. Trilobite
10. Mother Puncher
11. Elephant Man

Review by Allan on June 25, 2002.

Upon my first listen of Mastodon’s latest album, “Remission”, I was impressed not only by their performance, but also by the depth of the music. Between listens, the goal of these four band mates became more apparent. I could say Mastodon is just a band that is able to write some good riffs and has instrumental talent, but I’m afraid that it’s a bit deeper than that. “Remission” isn’t a piece of background music. It’s an emotional roller coaster that is atypically found in heavy rock. What they’ve accomplished here is something that I see as special, and “Remission” is certainly one of the finest albums I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with.

“Remission” is an album that is more than just heavy rock. Emotions are powerful things, and it’s not often that you find a band that can manifest those everyday emotions completely and thoroughly in the form of music. What it comes down to is that the emotions expressed by Mastodon are untainted. There is the wrath, there is the sorrow, and any other side of their music is conveyed without any unnecessary declarations. These songs are the band members who make up Mastodon.

Besides the fact that Mastodon’s music is heartfelt and pure, it does take more than emotion to write a great record. The band has that something else inside them that they take through on “Remission”. They aren’t afraid to go out on a limb. For Mastodon, there are no boundaries for their music and that’s the way it should be. The band will start off with their no nonsense style and go off into a frenzy, but then all of the sudden around the middle of the album they’ll drop into more melodic, calmer song. And you know what? That has just as much power as the others do. Without regard to the hesitant minds of some listeners, they will go into a piece of music that is technical as all hell, straightforward, and to the point without any frills.

The song ‘Trilobite’ is an excellent example for a mixture of many elements of which Mastodon successfully encompasses. It starts out with a calm guitar movement that is filled with an eerie tension that is not long accompanied by a second guitar that starts to build the song up. Bringing the song to life is the drummer who makes his grand entrance for not only himself, but also the singer who makes his presence fully known. Mastodon makes the way back into the dense dual-guitar harmony again before reminding you that the other band members are fully intact. Finally, it closes out into a melancholic chord progression that is delicately layered with subtle guitar notes between beats. The intricacies are endless. For example when 'Trilobite' makes its beautiful escape it is layered with two guitars that aren’t playing that exact same thing nor are they playing in the exact same time. For Mastodon the limits are endless and they show that with what they accomplished on “Remission”.

The chemistry between the band members is surely quite amazing. Guitarist Brent Hines blasts through ideas like an adrenaline junkie. He adds a substantial amount of harmony to the music to make everything twice as consuming with the addition of a hostile atmosphere. Making up for the lack of a second guitarist is bassist Troy Sanders. He accompanies Hines with excellent support and his discretion on “Remission” is often the times what make those repeated listens more interesting. More than just the frosting on the cake, the singer screams for his life with a passion. Whether or not he is the most brutal of all the singers out there or if he’s the downright nastiest vocalist of the scene is not an issue. What matters is his performance because it includes precision and honesty. The base of the operation is their drummer, a man who plays like he’s the only force against true evil. As if technicality wasn’t overrated, this guy is more than just a replica of a four-armed monster. He knows how to stay in tact with the band while terrorizing his drum kit, and amongst all this self-created chaos he is not sloppy and leaves enough room to be tasteful. This unit known only as Mastodon is one powerful beast and possesses one of the tightest line-ups I’ve come across in awhile.

Bottom Line: “Remission” is easily one of the best albums I’ve heard all year and should be listened to by everyone out there who likes heavy music that’s more than purely superficial.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Musicianship: 9.5
Atmosphere: 9
Production: 10
Originality: 9
Overall: 9

Rating: 9.3 out of 10