Review

MASTODON Blood Mountain

Album · 2006 · Sludge Metal
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5/5 ·
Kingcrimsonprog
Blood Mountain, Mastodon’s third studio album is a simply amazing record. When this came out, it was like a revelation, many directions hinted at on the band’s earlier work were now fully explored and the vocals were cleaner and clearer for longer and longer sections of the songs than ever before. The powerful and brooding ‘Sleeping Giant,’ and the upbeat and supremely enjoyable ‘This Mortal Soil,’ would have been a little out of place on Remission, but somehow the band have adapted their sound so that these excellent songs feel completely justified and do so without sacrificing what made Mastodon so vital in the first place. Everything about this album is outstanding, from the production, artwork and songwriting to Bill and Brent’s complex and interesting guitar work. There is basically nothing to complain about on the near faultless record, truly a rarity for any album. Troy and Brent’s vocals are really excellent on this album, a huge improvement was made in preparation for this album both with their clean and heavy voices. Brann Dailor’s unique drum style has always been a huge part of Mastodon’s appeal and it is great to see that even with the change in direction the band had taken, Brann was still able to fill the album with truly virtuosic and inspirational drum work, from complex beats and furious lunging tom rolls to the powerful almost post rock tom build ups on the more progressive numbers. Guest vocal appearances from Josh Homme on ‘Colony of Birtchmen,’ and Cedric Bixler Zavala on ‘Siberian Divide,’ (although you could be forgiven for thinking his contribution was actually a synthesizer on first listen) prove the icing on the cake. The Mastodon school of concept album writing has always been to write songs about the concept, rather than telling the concept directly to the listener through lyrics and Blood Mountain is no exception. Highlights include concert favourite ‘Crystal Skull,’ the punchy and entertaining ‘Hunters of the Sky,’ and the aforementioned ‘This Mortal Soil.’ Blood Mountain is an absolutely essential album, easily one of the best metal albums ever recorded and no Mastodon fan should ever be without it.
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