“Blood Mountain” by Mastodon

Artist: Mastodon
Title: “Blood Mountain”
Label: Warner Brothers
Release Date: 9/12/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

With the Relapse Records release of “Leviathan”, Mastodon proved they were a band capable of breaking ground when others fear to even try. “Leviathan” would be an album that was as monstrous in sound as it was in name. The epic release was based on the Melville novel “Moby Dick” and with it the group took strong footing in a Metal scene that was blossoming once again after many years of being stagnant. The group’s move to Warner Bros. led to some to believe that the major signing would come at the sacrifice of some of the artistic integrity that made Mastodon special in the first place. They worried that a new recording would have them find a different Mastodon from what they experienced previously. The assumption would be correct as on “Blood Mountain” Mastodon brings to light just how much change one can offer the listener without sacrificing any of their impact, their musical prowess and overall delivery. “Blood Mountain” is a surprise right off the bat with wilder than ever drum patterns by Brann Dailor who is holding the riffs of Brent Hinds together as the other members pummel and reshape the style of the band. Dailor stands out in particular all over the record and makes the level of play demonstrated a thrill ride that is best experienced loud. Technically exciting, this is an album that pushes the limits of the genre by daring to become almost a Progressive/Experimental endeavor based on the amount of unique rhythms and styles that are delivered here. You will find this most prevalent in songs like “Capillarian Crest” and “Cycle Of Cysquatch” which are among the best offerings on the album as well. Don’t expect the sheer brutality that you found on “Leviathan” as its not here, but instead “Blood Mountain” offers the listener five times the musical exposition and shows that the group possesses advanced musical skills. The level of technical display shows advances in musical growth and I feel this will raise Mastodons level of appeal in the minds of fans of more Extreme Technical Metal. The use of Progressive elements will help raise the musical minds of listeners who love the Metal but as years go on might find themselves needing areas of change.

I have to inform that not every track is thunderous and intense as will be found on the closing number “Pendulous Sign”. This track owes more to Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett than to Kerry King and once more it shows just what you get from being a fan of Mastodon. It’s a brave way to close an album, and while it might annoy some fans who only want Metal destruction, I do think that they will be pleased with the overall results on this new recording. Thanks to Mastodon and “Blood Mountain” we are once again shown how much can be done with the genre and how accepting the normal routine is so unacceptable. It’s exciting to be listening to Metal when bands like Mastodon are delivering it.

Track Listing:
1. The Wolf Is Loose
2. Crystal Skull
3. Sleeping Giant
4. Capillarian Crest
5. Circle Of Cysquatch
6. Bladecatcher
7. Colony Of Birchmen
8. Hunters Of The Sky
9. Hand Of Stone
10. This Mortal Soil
11. Siberian Divide
12. Pendulous Skin

Official Website: www.mastodonrocks.com

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