Sunday, June 27, 2010

Music Library: Mastodon

I scheduled this post to be Mastodon only before I realized that I don't actually have that much to say about the band.  I mean, yes, their subject matter is pretty wild, and their prog-metal interesting and awesome.  Yes, they have a broader appeal than some metal bands.  And yes, if you like music that cooks and pummels, you will probably like them.  But lots of people have written about them elsewhere and none of this adds anything to the discussion.  So, well, there you go.

Lifesblood EP (2001). Five-song EP with a number of audio samples that color the songs.  Pretty decent material that points towards the powerhouse they were about to become.

Remission (2002). See, here's the problem.  I have only so many ways to say "awesome."  This album is awesome.  It's awesiomatic.  It's complex, heavy, clever, and amazing.  Awesome. I mean, it starts with the song "Crusher Destroyer" and culminates in the song "Mother Puncher."  Wow.

Leviathan (2004).  Apparently, Remission wasn't awesome enough, so Mastodon had to try something so ridiculous audacious that anyone hearing about it in advance would assume that it was doomed to failure from the start.  The joke, it is on this person I just made up!  Because Leviathan, a concept album about Moby-Dick, is phenomenal.  In retrospect, the only concept album about Moby-Dick that could possibly work is one by a complex, proggy, supremely heavy metal band.

Call Of The Mastodon EP (2006). Lifesblood plus tracks from their first release, a vinyl-only EP from 2000.  Much like Lifesblood, it's more promise for the future than awesomeness itself.

Blood Mountain (2006). This one is another concept album, although the concept is a little less comprehensible to me.  Something about a guy struggling to reach the top of a mountain and set a crystal skull there.  Yeah.  But the music is great.  The problem here is the mastering, which is too hot, too overcompressed.

Crack The Skye (2009).  Did I mention that the narrative in Blood Mountain is hard to figure out?  Because I told you what that one is about in a sentence.  This one, though, is about, well, let me just quote drummer Brann Dailor:

There is a paraplegic and the only way that he can go anywhere is if he astral travels. He goes out of his body, into outer space and a bit like Icarus, he goes too close to the sun, burning off the golden umbilical cord that is attached to his solar plexus. So he is in outer space and he is lost, he gets sucked into a wormhole, he ends up in the spirit realm and he talks to spirits telling them that he is not really dead. So they send him to the Russian cult, they use him in a divination and they find out his problem. They decide they are going to help him. They put his soul inside Rasputin's body. Rasputin goes to usurp the czar and he is murdered. The two souls fly out of Rasputin's body through the crack in the sky(e) and Rasputin is the wise man that is trying to lead the child home to his body because his parents have discovered him by now and think that he is dead. Rasputin needs to get him back into his body before it's too late. But they end up running into the Devil along the way and the Devil tries to steal their souls and bring them down…there are some obstacles along the way.
See? Easy. This is the proggiest damn thing outside of Magma.  But without choral singing.  And more metal.


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