MASTODON — Leviathan (review)

MASTODON — Leviathan album cover Album · 2004 · Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
The Crow
Second full-length Mastodon's album and here is where they really showed all their potential, and this original way to understand metal!

The style of the band very well represented in Leviathan. They make thrash metal with a lot of death metal influences, and a very original approaching to stoner rock too, giving constant surprises with groovy and catchy riffs. Like at the end of Seabeast! Being a fan of stoner (I specially love Spiritual Beggars and similar acts), I find this side of Mastodon very attractive.

However, they use not usual rhythms and structures. The songs are surprising, and the tempo is always changing. Not only in the epic Hearts Alive (a 100% progressive metal track) but also in the funny Megalodon, where a country melody is followed by a very fast speed metal section. The complex Aqua Dementia, the intricate verses on Island. This album is a real pleasure for tech metal fans.

The sound of the guitars is a bit odd, but it is great for the music and the concept of the album. They have sometimes a sailor mood, like on the beginning of Megalodon. Is incredible how this band, with these compact and hard compositions, are able to give every song a new texture, making a coherent progression of the history through the album. I also like their acoustics. In Joseph Merrick they made another bizarre song, with this dirty guitars and tired keyboards... However, it is just brilliant!

Brann Dailor, the drummer, also deserves a special mention here. He is just one of the better drummers in metal today. His incredibly fast drumming and his surprising rhythms make the sensation of that you are hearing a jam session by a genius... Every time I listen this album, I discover new things in the work of this man in Leviathan. His sound is a bit ugly, and a bit too high. However, for the speed of his drumming, maybe it is not possible to get a better sound, because the drumsticks of this guy must run at the speed of light!

Best Tracks: Blood and Thunder (obscure, epic and catchy opening...), Seabeast (the final riff is my favorite of the album), Iron Tusk (just love the whole song), Megalodon (it's crazy, and it is wonderful) and of course Hearts Alive (the longer track is of course very progressive, epic and it shows the whole band's potential)

Conclusion: Mastodon is one of the most surprising metal acts appeared in the last years. They have achieved a very original sound, mixing a lot of genres and influences, but mixing them so brilliantly that you will not notice it. They are powerful, refreshing and unique. And Leviathan is their best album to date, surpassing the very good but a bit flawed Blood Mountain.

Very recommended band and album!

My rating: ****

P.S.: this review was originally written for ProgArchives.com and rewritten to be included here.
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