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4.03 | 36 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2014


1. Tread Lightly (05:11)
2. The Motherload (04:59)
3. High Road (04:14)
4. Once More 'Round the Sun (02:58)
5. Chimes at Midnight (05:30)
6. Asleep in the Deep (06:12)
7. Feast Your Eyes (03:22)
8. Aunt Lisa (04:16)
9. Ember City (04:58)
10. Halloween (04:37)
11. Diamond in the Witch House (07:46)

Total Time 54:08


- Troy Sanders / bass, vocals
- Brent Hinds / guitar, vocals
- Bill Kelliher / guitar, vocals
- Brann Dailor / drums

Guest Musicians:
- Stephanie Luke / backing vocals (track 8)
- Julia Kugel / backing vocals (track 8)
- Meredith Franco / backing vocals (track 8)
- Gary Lindsey / backing vocals (track 8)
- Valient Himself / backing vocals (track 6)
- Isaiah "Ikey" Owens / synthesizers (track 6)
- Scott Kelly / vocals (track 11)

About this release

CD, 2LP/CD and 2x 12" vinyl LP released 19th June 2014 on Reprise Records (9362-49376-5).

CD released 25th June 2014 on Warner Music Japan (WPCR-15738).

All music and lyrics by Mastodon, except "Once More 'Round the Sun" which contains samples from "Cowboy Song" written by B. Downey & P. Lynott. Additional lyrics on "Diamond in the Witch House" by Scott Kelly.

Recorded at Rock Falcon Studio, Franklin, TN. Additional recording done at the Projector Room, Decatur, GA. Scott Kelly vocals recorded above Sunset Bar, Martigny, Switzerland.

Mixed at Rock Falcon Studio, Franklin, TN and Paramount, Hollywood, CA. Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York City.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and UMUR, Bosh66 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

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.

"Once More 'Round the Sun" is the 6th full-length studio album by US metal act Mastodon. The album was released through Reprise Records in June 2014. "The Hunter (2011)" proved to be a big success for the band, and they´ve spend a lot of time touring in support of that album, which is part of the reason why there are 3 years between the two albums, but Mastodon have never been a band to release anything unless they are fully satisfied with the material they´ve composed, so they´ve also taken the time necessary to write the best possible material for "Once More 'Round the Sun".

"The Hunter (2011)" featured a less complex and more catchy and straight forward heavy metal sound, than the musical style on the earlier more raw, sludgy, and progressive releases by the band, and that stylistic change is continued and developed upon on "Once More 'Round the Sun". While the music on the album certainly is memorable with catchy choruses and powerful riffs, it´s not simple by any means and mainstream appeal is only present in smaller doses. Mastodon have not completely forgotten their sludgy past either and while the most hard edged tracks on "Once More 'Round the Sun" don´t compare in rawness to earlier material, some tracks are still pretty harsh.

And the variation of the material is one of the things that makes "Once More 'Round the Sun" such a great release. On the album you´ll find both heavy/stoner rockers, darker psychadelic tinged rock/metal tracks, and the above mentioend harsher sludgy tracks (and often all styles are combined). Another great feature is the attention to detail in the songwriting, which is something Mastodon excel in. While the music generally flows naturally and doesn´t sound constructed, these guys have obviously been through every second of music on this release to see if they could do anything different to make it sound better.

All material on the album are as a result well written and intriguing (even the most simple vers/chorus structured tracks are detailed and interesting). The music is well performed too. Great organic interplay between all involved, and the vocals, which on the band´s early releases were a bit more one-dimensional, are now more varied with both clean and raw vocal styles featured in the music. Mastodon have obviously worked a lot on their vocal melodies and how they perform them, because the vocal part of "Once More 'Round the Sun" is more catchy, powerful, and memorable than ever.

The organic sounding production is also a winner and helps bring out the best in the music, so all in all "Once More 'Round the Sun" is a high quality release by Mastodon. With the success of "The Hunter (2011)" I was wondering if Mastodon would strip down their sound and aim for an even more mainstream oriented sound on "Once More 'Round the Sun", but I don´t really think that´s the case. "Once More 'Round the Sun" is equally as adventurous as "The Hunter (2011)" and it´s nice to hear that the band haven´t completely abandoned their progressive ways in search of commercial success, even though the more simple sound on this one and on "The Hunter (2011)" are a far cry in sound and style (not in quality) compared to the more progressive predecessors. Mastodon seemingly insist on not settling or getting too comfortable and I find that greatly charming. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.
What really can I say about Mastodon. Ever since these guys came out, they have been receiving nothing but praise. I even have seen people describe them as the most important metal band out at the moment...and I have to agree. These guys have been surprising audiences and critics alike for over 10 years now have been wowing pretty much anybody who listens to them.

After the success and absolute madness that was “Crack The Skye”, the band returned to their metal roots with “The Hunter” but where showing some slight touches towards a more contemporary style. Now they have pretty much gone fully contemporary. Musically the album has the band going towards the light of...popular music. Now don't get me wrong, they aren't doing songs with Avici or Nicki Minaj, but the band are sounding a lot more polished and poppier. The songs definite have a lot more focus on chorus and standard song structures with melodic phrasing. Drummer Brann Dailor's vocals are now way more prominent, which I believe to be a good thing because I think he has a brilliant voice. I have heard a few people criticise Brent's vocals on this album, but I think his vocals are better than ever. Now and then his vocals can be rather hard to interpret, but melodically they sound great. And as always, Troy's vocals are getting better album by album.

Now, this album isn't perfect, I do have some gripes. The first half does slightly eclipse the second half, but I overall don't think there is a bad song on this album. One slight gripe I have is with the production. Now having a lot more noticeable and catchier vocal hooks, I do feel that the vocals are a bit too low in the mix. While I do like Brann's vocals becoming more prominent I feel his drumming is lacking on this album. On albums like “Leviathan” and “Blood Mountain”, Brann's drumming was almost Keith Moon in nature. On this album, they are pretty normal. Still impressive but nothing mindblowing sadly.

The opening track “Tread Lightly” is a brilliant opener. An all out riff fest, the song also shows off the vocals from Troy and Brann, with some nice hooks and musical moments throughout.

One of the albums best tracks has to be “The Motherload.” Having a rather 80's Ozzy Osbourne feel to it, Brann gives off one of his best vocal performances singing a great chorus. Probably the catchiest song on the album and a possible next single.

The album's lead single “High Road” is the perfect choice. Starting off with a black metal influenced riff, the verses are heavy as hell before the chorus kicks in with a rather anthemic feel behind it. The real moment to shine on this track has to be the guitar solos in the middle 8. The music video for this song is also pretty great too.

“Chimes At Midnight” to me reminds me of previous track “Black Tongue.” Packed full of kick ass riffs and boasting a brilliant vocal performance from Troy. One of the most interesting instrumental songs on the album and being more focused towards Mastodon's previous sounds.

“Asleep In The Deep” is probably one of the most unique songs the band have made so far. At times the song edges on pop/indie rock sounds before turning into a space rock mammnoth by the end. Some great vocals by Brann and Troy throughout too.

One of the oddest tracks on the album has to be “Aunt Lisa.” Being rather ecclectic with its arrangements, it has some odd twists and turns, including an ending with female gang vocals.

The final and longest track on the album “”Diamond In The Witch House” is a song which features Scott Kelly from Neurosis. One of the least catchiest songs but musically interesting songs, it truncheons along like a Mastodon would do if they where still walking about today. I do think this sounds too familiar to Kelly's band Neurosis, but it does have some nice moments throughout.

In conclusion, this album pretty much proves the band can't make a bad album. Going into a more mainstream direction can be dangerous territory for certain artists, but Mastodon have been able to 'Tread Lightly' into a more contemporary style while still being true to themselves. Packed full of tunes and opening many doors for the band. Godspeed to them as they continue to make great music.


Genres: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Pop Rock, Sludge, Space Rock

Country of origin: USA

Year of release: 2014

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