Mastodon is a sludge metal band from Atlanta that has increasing in popularity since the release of this 2004 release, “Leviathan”, and gained mainstream success with 2009’s “Crack The Skye”, most definitely their most accessible album so far. Before that though we have “Leviathan”, the most violent and roughest Mastodon record yet. Probably the album that perfectly captures their wild, sludgy style.
What makes Mastodon so unique in the sludge metal scene is their fast, dynamic rhythms, which in this genre aren’t particularly used. These rhythms happen mainly thanks to drummer Brenn Dailor, an excellent musician with many noticeable jazz influences. The guitars as a consequence are as well fast and powerful, with a fuzzy and typically stoner metal sound. The vocals by Brent Hinds are also very strong, sometimes they almost sound like growls; his style is very unique, and sometimes he makes this kind of nasal voice for the softer parts.
Very well, produced, “Leviathan” is a true explosion of music, power and energy. The complex and fast rhythms are what really give attitude and character to the album. But the structure of the songs are very respectable; after the explosive moments, with bursting, amp destroying guitar chord riffs, we could have some electric arpeggios, that make the musicianship quite virtuous. The choruses are more melodic, sometimes slower but almost never bringing down a notch the volume. Even in the less violent songs there’s still an energy that rarely you can find in a band, and this is why I’m loving Mastodon and “Leviathan”.
The album is very solid, containing ten, fierce, animated tracks, that will pass as Mastodon classics; from the opener “Blood &Thunder”, probably my favorite song of theirs and definitely their most representative. “Seabeast” is very original and with a somewhat catchy melody and vocals, “Iron Tusk” one of the most violent songs off this album. “Naked Burn” is a perfect example of when the band gets more melodic, but without losing any volume or energy. Special mention to “Hearts Alive”, more than thirteen minutes of time changes, many times very good, even though at times not as convincing, but definitely labels the band a bit progressive.
An album with a great and impenetrable wall of sound, that if you like the genre is absolutely essential you own.