MASTODON

Sludge Metal / Progressive Metal / Non-Metal / Hard Rock • United States
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Mastodon is a progressive metal / sludge metal band from Atlanta in Georgia, formed in 2000.

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Mastodon is one of the new breed of metal bands from the US. They created waves in the metal community with the EP Lifesblood, released in 2001, just over a year after the band's formation in 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

The band appeals to fans of both hardcore and extreme metal, while combining elements of progressive music and beyond. Mastodon was first signed to Reptilian Records in 2000, shortly after recording their demo. Soon after this and the release of a little-known EP called "Slick Leg," however, the band was signed to Relapse Records - the label on which Mastodon's most critically acclaimed work was released: Lifesblood, an EP in 2001; Remission, the band's first full length album in 2002 and Leviathan, in 2004. (A concept album based around Herman Melville's classic book, Moby
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MASTODON Discography

MASTODON albums / top albums

MASTODON Remission album cover 3.81 | 55 ratings
Remission
Sludge Metal 2002
MASTODON Leviathan album cover 4.22 | 91 ratings
Leviathan
Sludge Metal 2004
MASTODON Blood Mountain album cover 3.94 | 73 ratings
Blood Mountain
Sludge Metal 2006
MASTODON Crack The Skye album cover 4.29 | 100 ratings
Crack The Skye
Sludge Metal 2009
MASTODON The Hunter album cover 3.94 | 69 ratings
The Hunter
Progressive Metal 2011
MASTODON Once More 'Round the Sun album cover 4.01 | 36 ratings
Once More 'Round the Sun
Progressive Metal 2014
MASTODON Emperor of Sand album cover 3.86 | 30 ratings
Emperor of Sand
Progressive Metal 2017
MASTODON Hushed And Grim album cover 3.55 | 13 ratings
Hushed And Grim
Progressive Metal 2021

MASTODON EPs & splits

MASTODON Slick Leg album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Slick Leg
Sludge Metal 2001
MASTODON Lifesblood album cover 3.13 | 10 ratings
Lifesblood
Sludge Metal 2001
MASTODON Mastodon / American Heritage album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mastodon / American Heritage
Sludge Metal 2003
MASTODON Mastodon / High on Fire album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mastodon / High on Fire
Sludge Metal 2003
MASTODON The Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine: Two Song Sampler album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine: Two Song Sampler
Sludge Metal 2004
MASTODON Mastodon / Avenged Sevenfold album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mastodon / Avenged Sevenfold
Sludge Metal 2005
MASTODON Mastodon / Deftones album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mastodon / Deftones
Sludge Metal 2007
MASTODON Oblivion EP album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Oblivion EP
Sludge Metal 2009
MASTODON Crack The Skye - Abridged album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Crack The Skye - Abridged
Sludge Metal 2010
MASTODON Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP album cover 3.25 | 10 ratings
Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP
Progressive Metal 2010
MASTODON Just Got Paid album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Just Got Paid
Sludge Metal 2011
MASTODON A Spoonful Weighs A Ton album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Spoonful Weighs A Ton
Progressive Metal 2012
MASTODON Feistodon album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Feistodon
Progressive Metal 2012
MASTODON Cold Dark Place album cover 3.25 | 10 ratings
Cold Dark Place
Progressive Metal 2017

MASTODON live albums

MASTODON Live At The Aragon album cover 3.77 | 10 ratings
Live At The Aragon
Sludge Metal 2011
MASTODON Live At Brixton album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live At Brixton
Sludge Metal 2013

MASTODON demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MASTODON 9 Song Demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
9 Song Demo
Sludge Metal 2000
MASTODON Demo 2001 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo 2001
Sludge Metal 2001
MASTODON March of the Fire Ants EP album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
March of the Fire Ants EP
Sludge Metal 2002
MASTODON Leviathan Sampler album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Leviathan Sampler
Sludge Metal 2004

MASTODON re-issues & compilations

MASTODON Call Of The Mastodon album cover 3.63 | 11 ratings
Call Of The Mastodon
Sludge Metal 2006
MASTODON Boxset album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Boxset
Sludge Metal 2008
MASTODON Medium Rarities album cover 3.00 | 3 ratings
Medium Rarities
Progressive Metal 2020

MASTODON singles (22)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Iron Tusk
Sludge Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 2 ratings
Blood & Thunder
Sludge Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Crystal Skull
Sludge Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Capillarian Crest
Sludge Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Wolf Is Loose
Sludge Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Colony Of Birchmen
Sludge Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Sleeping Giant
Sludge Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Oblivion
Sludge Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Divinations
Sludge Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Just Got Paid / The Bit
Sludge Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
3.75 | 2 ratings
Deathbound
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover
4.33 | 3 ratings
Black Tongue
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover
2.56 | 4 ratings
Curl Of The Burl
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Dry Bone Valley
Progressive Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
High Road
Progressive Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Motherload
Progressive Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Atlanta
Progressive Metal 2015
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Asleep In The Deep
Progressive Metal 2015
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
White Walker
Non-Metal 2016
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Toe To Toes
Progressive Metal 2017
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Stairway To Nick John
Hard Rock 2019
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fallen Torches
Sludge Metal 2021

MASTODON movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.38 | 4 ratings
The Workhorse Chronicles: The Early Years 2000-2005
Sludge Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Unholy Alliance
Sludge Metal 2007

MASTODON Reviews

MASTODON Hushed And Grim

Album · 2021 · Progressive Metal
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ssmarcus
It seemed like not so long ago that progressive metal fans were lamenting Mastodon’s pivot away from prog-inspired sludge metal and into a more commercially viable riff-happy direction. While 2018’s Emperor of Sand signaled a minor but welcomed course correction for the group, Mastodon’s latest effort, Hushed and Grim, is nothing short of a triumphant return to form, perhaps in even greater measure that any time before in the band’s legendary career.

I’ll admit that upon learning Hushed and Grim was a double record spanning almost 90 minutes, I assumed it was going to be yet another covid-lockdown-inspired slog; an under cooked serving by another artist bored and unsure of what to do with themselves with all their new-found time. Bucking this trend, Mastodon have managed to utilize the time to commit every ounce of creative and pent-up emotional energy they could muster to crafting what is an album that is every bit as heavy, psychedelic, technical, experimental, and proggy as anything else they have ever done in their career. While it might be tough to justify a 90-minute run time, it is truly remarkable just how every track has at least something about it to admire.

The record’s only real flaw is the muddy mix that tends to drown out the finer textures of the melodies and riffs. This gets particularly upsetting when comparing the mix to the crisp clean gloss of their previous effort. But putting that flaw aside, Hushed & Grim forces even casual Mastodon fans like myself to come to one inescapable conclusion: this band is simply incapable of making a bad album. And whether you fancy the progressive greatness Crack the Skye or the raw but subtly ambitious onslaught of Leviathan, I think you’ll find Hushed & Grim a worthy contribution to the Mastodon discography.

MASTODON Hushed And Grim

Album · 2021 · Progressive Metal
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lukretion
US prog metal big shots Mastodon just released their eight LP, a nearly 90-minute double-album whammy titled Hushed and Grim. I have been following the band since their 2009 breakthrough Crack the Skye and I enjoyed all releases since then, so my anticipation for the new album, that had been described as darker and more progressive than anything before, was high. Alas, my expectations were quickly disappointed after I gave the new record a couple of spins. After sitting with it for over a week, I can confidently say that Hushed and Grim is a strong contender for my personal “biggest let-down of 2021”, perhaps only second to Steven Wilson’s The Future Bites. So what went wrong?

In an interview to UK magazine PROG, drummer Brann Dailor introduced the album by saying: “We could only get it down to 15 songs. We had multiple listens at my house and those 15 songs just felt like they needed to be together. To whittle it down to 55 minutes, our usual sweet spot, we would have had to get rid of six or seven songs and it wasn’t happening.”. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the mother of all problems with this album. The band and renowned producer David Bottrill (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Tool) decided to take an “everything goes” and “more and more” approach to songwriting and album production, which on the surface may seem to push the “progressive” ambitions of Mastodon’ music, but it ultimately greatly harms its listenability.

The main problems of the album for me are direction and consistency. This album does not have either. Its 15 tracks move back and forth between dark alternative rock/metal, spacey progressive metal and remnants of the more sludgy and metallic sound from the band’s origins, without deciding which sonic identity to give to the music. Do not get me wrong, I love albums that incorporate a set of diverse influences into the sound. But this requires careful arrangements to balance the various ingredients into the music. Here the driving approach seems to have been to just let the different influences surface at different points of a song, or in different songs, without worrying too much about how these may flow into one another. The end result is a collection of songs that are yes diverse, but also feel somewhat schizophrenic and directionless, moving back and forth between the various styles without managing to settle on a sensible compromise or achieving a satisfying amalgam. In other words, the album stutters rather than flowing gracefully, and this makes for a rather uncomfortable and frustrating listening experience.

There’s plenty of examples of this across the 15 songs of the album. “Pain with an Anchor” is an interesting opener, introducing influences from modern dark rock/metal bands like Katatonia or A Perfect Circle, that I would not have expected to hear on a Mastodon album, but the following track “The Crux” immediately reverts expectations, harking back towards the heavier and spacey metallic sounds of Once More 'Round the Sun. The album seems to settle on this groove for a couple of tracks, before “The Beast” confusingly throws in some incongruous bluesy sections to bookend what is otherwise a fairly standard piece of atmospheric progressive metal. Meanwhile “Skeleton of Splendor” and the single “Teardrinker” return to the mellow alternative vibes of the opening track, before “Pushing the Tides” veers again towards a heavier sound. The second disc pretty much continues in this ambivalent vein, almost as if Mastodon were undecided between embracing the new alternative rock/metal sound and sticking with their more traditional heavy sound.

While flow is a characteristic that I find very important in a full-length album, I could have forgiven the album’s deficiency in this department if Hushed and Grim were consistently high quality across its 15 songs. Alas, it is not. The album is crammed with mediocre material that should have absolutely been filtered out. “The Crux”, “More than I Could Chew” (which, come to think about it, is a pretty accurate description of how I feel about this record), “The Beast”, “Pushing the Tides”, “Savage Lands”, “Eyes of Serpents” are all pretty subpar songs that really do not add much to Mastodon’s extant discography, sounding like a re-hashed version of their earlier material. The frustrating thing is that the filler material severely dilutes the impact that strong tracks like “Pain with an Anchor”, “Skeleton of Splendor”, “Teardrinker”, “Peace and Tranquillity” and “Gobblers of Dregs” could have made on the listener. All these songs are interesting, some even exciting, but it is excruciating to have to wade through almost an hour of average material to get to listen to the good bits of the album.

Mastodon are top notch musicians and the playing throughout Hushed and Grim casts no doubt on this, from Brann Dailor’s frenzied drumming to Brent Hinds’ and Bill Kelliher’s dazzling guitar playing, the album brims with excellent musicianship. Where Hushed and Grim falls considerably short, however, is in the songwriting and arrangement department. Ultimately, the combo of lack of direction and watered down tracklist was definitely a killjoy for me and I do not see myself returning to this record anytime soon. I nevertheless choose to believe that this is just a blip in Mastodon’s impressive discography and I remain hopeful and looking forward to the band’s next move.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

MASTODON Medium Rarities

Boxset / Compilation · 2020 · Progressive Metal
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Kev Rowland
As one may expect from the title, the brand new release from Mastodon is a collection of material which is difficult or impossible to obtain, bringing together cover versions, soundtrack contributions, instrumentals, B-sides, and live recordings on one complete package. This means we get the likes of “A Commotion” (Feist), “A Spoonful Weighs A Ton” (The Flaming Lips), and “Orion” (Metallica) while also featuring soundtrack cuts such as “White Walker” (Game of Thrones), “Cut You Up With A Linoleum Knife” (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and “Rufus Lives” (Bill & Ted Face The Music). If that isn’t enough, they also include instrumental versions of “Asleep in the Deep”, “Toe To Toes”, “Jaguar God” and “Halloween”. Given that many of the songs are unavailable elsewhere then this is obviously something that fans are going to be interested in, especially as it includes brand new song “Fallen Torches”, which features guest vocals by long-time friend and collaborator Scott Kelly (Neurosis).

Due to the nature of the music contained within this, it is aimed only at Mastodon diehard fans and those people will really enjoy this, yet in reality this is not something which normal punters will rush out to obtain, and rightly so. There are a few numbers which do stand out musically, but overall this is something which many people will listen to once and then go back to the “normal” releases. Rarities albums sometimes produce a few gems, such as Jethro Tull’s “Jack A Lynn” and “Coronach” which many people were unaware of until they were put out on such a set, but for most people they can be safely passed by until the next new album comes out, and this falls into that bracket. But if you really did want some of those rarer Mastodon songs then now you can do just that.

MASTODON Emperor of Sand

Album · 2017 · Progressive Metal
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Kev Rowland
On their 2017 release the quartet released a concept storyline where they want us to contemplate the nature of time. Threading together the myth of a man sentenced to death in a majestically malevolent desert, the band conjures the grains of a musical and lyrical odyssey slipping quickly through a cosmic hourglass. “Emperor Of Sand is like the grim reaper,” says drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor. “Sand represents time. If you or anyone you know has ever received a terminal diagnosis, the first thought is about time. Invariably, you ask, ‘How much time is left?’” “We’re reflecting on mortality,” adds bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders. “To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It’s 17 years in the making, but it’s also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives.”

Although it may seem that this would lead the album musically into darker territory, it is actually somewhat lighter than its predecessors, still capturing the Mastodon sound but at times it is more akin to hard rock than metal, while sludge is less prominent than previously. Instead they are mixing and blending complex ideas with guitar lines that sometimes have Eastern tinges, while Dailor is producing some of the most melodic vocals of his career. “Steambreather” is a case in point where instead of getting heavier it actually lightens up during the bridge even though Dailor is also blasting around the kit. “Precious Stones” is another fine example of the band playing with light and dark, as while it is lighter for the most part the final bars show the band crunching out the definitive Mastodon sound and then stopping dead.

The subject matter of the album may not be the most pleasant for people to think about, but the music has definitely taken on a less brutal and more melodic aspect while still staying true to their roots. More progressive and less metallic, this is another great release.

MASTODON Once More 'Round the Sun

Album · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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Kev Rowland
This 2014 album was the sixth from Mastodon, following on some three years from 2011’s acclaimed ‘The Hunter’. Although I originally missed out on the debut, I clearly remember when I was sent their 2004 release ‘Leviathan’ and the impact it had on me. Back then they were in all the music magazines but moving to New Zealand just a few years later meant I lost track of what they were doing and it is only now that I am starting to revisit the catalogue. There are few bands who manage to stay together throughout their career, but the line-up on this one was the same as on the debut (and actually still is today), namely Troy Sanders (bass, vocals), Brent Hinds (guitar, vocals), Bill Kelliher (guitar) and Brann Dailor (drums). Over the years they have become renowned for their attention to detail, and how they mix many forms of metal to create something which is uniquely theirs. This means they can be playing something which is more akin to sludge and then surprise everyone with some incredibly melodic guitar twin harmonies which is totally out of character for what is happening musically yet also fits in perfectly. Then over the top of it all there are the dual lead vocals which add yet more melody to what is an incredibly heavy band.

But they are also not afraid to show what inspires them, and when listening to the title cut, one cannot help but be taken back to the Seventies, although in a far heavier and bass-led fashion. This song also contains samples of Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song”, and one wonders if this was a premonition of things to come given that bassist Sanders was asked to join that band for some live shows five years later. This is progressive metal in that there is a real refusal to accept boundaries or norms, creating music very much on their own terms, no compromise whatsoever yet somehow they create something which is incredibly easy to listen to and enjoy on the very first time of hearing. It is powerful and aggressive, yet with a layer of polish and versatility which belies the force of what is going on underneath. While it may not have the immediate impact of ‘Leviathan’ one can see why this is such highly regarded release and I am certainly glad that I have finally remade my acquaintance with the band.

MASTODON Movies Reviews

MASTODON The Workhorse Chronicles: The Early Years 2000-2005

Movie · 2006 · Sludge Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
The Workhorse Chronicles is a must have for any fan of the band. Period. The DVD contains a huge documentary, their first four music videos and live performances of just about every song the band had written up until the touring for Leviathan. The documentary is incredibly informative, with details on how the band formed, inter band relationships, the witting process, touring, their personal lives and what inspires them. Footage from their old bands, their earliest shows and backstage is mixed with candid interviews to let you in on just about every aspect of the band you could think of.

The dvd displays just what a down to earth collection of musicians Mastodon are, never acting like rock stars and always feeling honored to be where they are. While the dvd is completely serious and professional, fans of the band will already know what a humorous bunch of guys they are and will revel in the joking, sarcasm, unusual dreams and even an interview conducted in the shower.

Then you get the live performances taken from several sources, One concert while the band was still a Five Piece playing material off of the then upcomming LifesBlood EP which is recorded by the audience so isn’t of high audio/visual quality. Another Concert is from The Leviathan Tour is a sold out club, with higher Audio/visual quality and a career spanning track listing. Then there are several professionally recorded one off performances for television with superb sound and looks, With songs like ‘Workhorse,’ and ‘Mother Puncher,’ played to the highest standard with crystal clear audio. Finally the music videos which are welcome. Overall this dvd is a must have; with a superb documentary, four videos and an astonishing 29 live songs.

MASTODON Shouts

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jorgelog94 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
gREAT BAND!!!
Coffin Joe wrote:
more than 2 years ago
My favorite band! This band just gets better & better - and the Crack The Skye just blew me away!

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