Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mastodon-Blood Mountain, 2006

I was really looking forward to this album. I saw Mastodon last year and they were phenomenal. I liked their last album Leviathan, but to me it had some problems. Even though I liked it, I really don't listen to it all that much. I was hoping the new album would be a bit tighter. Blood Mountain seems a bit more concise at times than Leviathan. The band still manages to bring across their classic metal influences as well as their own energetic bursts. This album drags a little less than the previous album as well. Yet I am afraid that I am a little disappointed over the new album. There were definite moments of greatness, but it stills feel uneven more times than it should. These guys are talented for sure because the sparks are there yet there are times where they seem to choose to be quirky rather than being heavy. Perhaps it's just a matter of preference, but it just seems to me that it wouldn't take much effort for these guys to be more direct with their sound. By doing that, I think they would not be any less powerful and they would be more to the point. There are times where they just go at it with a big wall of sound and there are times where they just sound frantic and a bit like they are grasping for something. As it is I think they put out another good album instead of the great album I was hoping for. I will keep listening to it though and perhaps it will eventually click and I will upgrade it.


Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Interesting commentary. As it is right now, I'm battling it with Isis for metal album of the year as I am still thinking deep on whether or not Mastodon is the greatest metal of this generation...I should've given Leviathan album of the year two years ago instead of Cradle of Filth's Nymphetamine, although that album is a metal masterpeice as well.

I will say on Blood Mountain it's that weird note distortion on track six that is the deciding factor between Isis and Mastodon for this year. Also, Isis is about mood, texture and sound sculpting, which is real art, as is Mastodon, even though they're brutal and fast-exchanged about it.

I maintain though that Blood Mountain is the second masterpiece Mastodon has released. I think I've listened to it an easy 15 times now. Perhaps with more listens it'll grow on you. Brann Dailor turned in one of the most amazing drumming performances I've heard in awhile and I think every song here is just astonishing.

They're beyond gifted.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Ray-They have the playing ability, but I don't think that their writing is stellar. I don't think they go all out on every song although I think they have the technical ability to do so. I think they bring elements of thrash, death and classic metal and very few bands are doing that today. It's just that some of the parts don't mesh together and I would like to see them be heavier on a more consistant basis.

8:58 PM  
Blogger T-_Bone said...

Interesting review Mark. I have not heard this one yet, but plan to pick it up this fall.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

T-bone-It's worth getting and it may grow on me as I have only heard it three times. I am likely in a minority because I think the metal press is big on this one and the band may bump up to the next level. I just think these guys have the playing ability to be better and I don't think they would have to vary things much for it to be better.

7:43 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I bought the last album and didn't give it a second listen, mostly because I'm not a fan of guttural vox and it pushed in that direction. But lately--with encouragement from some of you--I have given it a nother chance and it's really growing on me. The musicmanship--especially on the drumming--is outstanding, and I'm able to handle the vocals even if I'd prefer a more striaghtforward sound.

Anyway, all this has me inclined to get this new one. I just wish there were more bands like Maiden or Rush (in its heyday) now--great riffs, some tricky signatures and changing tempos, but guitar-focused and with clear vocals. Dream Theater works, but the keyboards don't excite me.

-- david

12:23 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

David- I think Mastodon are doing more than many current bands. I just think they have the potential to do more and it's not all in place right now.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

The thing is, Mark, I know you've never been a fan of constantly changing time signature changes and overt progression in metal, i.e. our old Voivod discussions, and I think it's coming into play here again. You've been more a fan of straightfoward rock and tempo-driven heaviness so that when a band like Voivod (who are ironically VERY straightforward on the new album) and Mastodon, I think you're suffering from the overload of stimulation and you don't feel like processing it all, at least not right now.

I was frankly astonished when you came to Mastodon with Bob and I because I thought they were too arty for your tastes, but I was so very happy you came and I'm happy you're giving them a chance.

I won't bend on this when I say Mastodon are at a zenith in their songwriting because they're a mathematical and technically proficient band. I listened to Remission, Leviathan and Blood Mountain back-to-back today and Remission is kind of the blueprint for what was to come while the later two albums capitalized on their chaotic synergy and the homogenization is world-class.

I normally think the European and Scandinavian metal bands beat American bands in the technicality department, but Mastodon has proven you can take the excellence of progression and amp it up American sludge-style and what you have is the most brilliantly textured bombast produced on our shores.

My opinion anyway... : )

9:14 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Ray-Mastodon are capable being so much better than this album. You can heard the parts, but they don't accomplish the whole thing. It's okay not to be straight forward if it adds to the overall sound. I don't think that's always the case with Mastodon.

4:52 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I don't know, man, I can "feel" what you're trying to say and I've actually listened for it while playing Remission a lot more to bridge the albums and try and see if your point is valid. I think I'm going to leave this as my last comment on the album so we can agree to disagree on this. Oddly enough, I was thinking on doing a blog entry where I parallel Mastodon to Maiden, but with the market as it is today, Mastodon will never rule the world as will no metal band of this generation. Lamb of God and Shadows Fall would be Maiden and Priest of this era, but even they can't seem to dominate the world as much as the other two did.

I wanted to say that Remission is Mastodon's Killers, Leviathan their Number of the Beast, Blood Mountain their Piece of Mind. I decided to give it more thought before actually taking a stab at defending that position

5:23 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home