After looking over the different bands I’ve reviewed thus far, I thought I would change things up for this post. I decided I wanted to review an album that was in the hard rock/metal genre, so I thought it’d be perfect to review the band Mastodon, which is one of my favorite metal bands out there.
Mastodon is a four-piece from Atlanta, with Brent Hinds on lead vocals and guitar, Troy Sanders on bass and vocals, Brann Dailor on drums, and Bill Kelliher on guitar. Although the band has claimed in the past that they do not consider themselves metal, I like to think that Mastodon contains some of the harder songs in my iTunes Library. A mix of hard rock, metal, progressive metal and grindcore, Mastodon is one of the most interesting bands I’ve listened to. I was introduced to them during a music festival in San Diego a few years back, and have seen them two times since, each one better than the last. Their stage performance is terrific, consisting of dueling guitar, a variety of vocal ranges, and one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen live. Mastodon has just played over the weekend at Sonisphere, supporting their newest album “Once More ‘Round the Sun,” which happens to be today’s review.
When I first heard this album, I immediately felt that this album could be classified as “The Hunter, Part 2,” since so many of their songs have the same music style and influences as their last album. As all their albums, I love the different vocal styles that Hinds and Sanders brings, one being more of a traditional metal growl, and the other hitting the higher notes. They complement each other perfectly, as if two different people are telling a story in multiple voices. The bass guitar grooves along to the rhythm guitar, acting as a lower octave that cannot be reached by electric guitar alone. As mentioned earlier, I feel the drums are performed with more passion than many of my favorite bands.
My favorite thing about this album is the lead and rhythm guitars. I love the different techniques that Brent Hinds and guitarist Bill Kelliher use throughout their songs. What’s unique about their songs is the use of bango-like finger-picking styles. Evident in songs like “Aunt Lisa” and “Diamond in The Witch House,” it brings a new flavor of guitar that isn’t easily found in rock or metal. Mastodon also use a wide variety of guitar scales in this album. From harmonic to pentatonic minor scales, I can easily tell who I am listening to based on the guitar alone. In addition, no good metal band can exist without guitar solos, which Mastodon performs beautifully. This album is filled with excellent guitar solos, especially in songs like “Ember City” and “Asleep in the Deep.” I feel the power and energy Hinds has with his use of hammer-ons and pull-offs during his solos. I feel compelled to mosh around my living room when I listen to Mastodon. That musical drive that only so many bands can deliver is rare to me, and Mastodon is honored with being one of the few that move me.
If you are a fan of hard rock/metal, and are fans of bands from Black Sabbath to Pantera, you should definitely lend your ears to Mastodon’s “Once More ‘Round the Sun.” They are truly a unique metal band. If you are some of my followers that were expecting something a little more proggy, you should instead check out their other album “Crack the Skye,” which should satisfy your taste.
Check out their official music video for their song “High Road”