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When one looks at a picture of a buck standing upright as a person does with a wolf and dog head coming out of the side of its face, you can only assume that the person who drew the image either took some really potent angel dust while researching books on Hindu Mysticism or that someone is trying to draw attention to something. When you listen to the contents that this rather odd piece of Dadaist art depicts, namely Mastodon’s “Blood Mountain”, you actually get a combination of both and the resulting listening experience essentially leaves the audience puzzled.
After penning a nice little review for “Remission”, which was a literal tower of random noise with showboating drummer cum shots all over the place, I became curious of a few things. Not so much the music itself, which is obviously the consequence of an incestuous bang-from-behind bastard child of Groove Metal (the 2nd lowest form of Metal in existence) and its own mutated offspring Metalcore. But more so the phenomenon of the album, particularly how something that is both so horribly terrible to listen to yet simultaneously structured for mainstream consumption can be heralded by the media and even some members of the Archives as being Metal, let alone the greatest Metal album of 2006. But in order to understand this phenomenon, we obviously need to study the subject itself, the sounds found on this rather pathetic waste of CD space.
Somewhere between “Remission” and this tower of dung we got a little concept album from this band (as a fan of this form of album I obviously shutter at the thought) where the singer of this band decided to mix in some tonal singing along with the usual Orangutan gibberish shouted at full volume. I currently have this alleged album on order from Amazon used for about $4 and I suspect I will still have paid too much for it. Anyhow, the resulting vocal sound is an odd mix of Fred Durst and Ozzy Osbourne, the former of whom is in desperate need of having his mouth packed with cement, the latter being a washed up cokehead with a voice that has been destroyed after 38 years of abuse.
As for the music, it’s more organized than “Remission”, but it actually sucks even worse due to the Groove side of the equation being given more time in the sun. The riffs still change pretty damn often and the overall structure of the songs is quite ambiguous, but we actually see some semblance of a verse and chorus, which is obviously the result of a producer trying to impart wisdom onto a group of novice wankers. Unfortunately, this amounts to trying to polish a mango sized piece of shit and then pouring perfume on it, you don’t actually change what it is, but you do fool an unsuspecting passer by who thinks it’s some new sort of scented chocolate candy.
And can someone please shoot that goddamned pretentious, showboating, technical cum squirting wanker whose banging nonstop on the drums? Or can you at least implant some sort of mind control device in his head so that he limits his fills to once every few measures? “The Wolf is Loose” would be a semi-decent speed metal song ripped off Pantera’s “Rise” if he wasn’t butchering the beat with all those damned snare rolls and tom fills. “Capillarian Crest”, the album’s song featured on music video, has a fucking drum roll every 2 measures and the damned beat changes every 8 seconds. ARRGGHHHH! SHUT UP!!!
Now obviously the drumming is not the only major problem here, there is also all these damned half-assed riffs that sound utterly terrible. The intro to “Circle of Cysquatch” (What the fuck is a Cysquatch?) has an annoying intro riff that sounds like fucking Korn mixed with Rage Against the Blowchine, to speak nothing for that hideous sounding vocal affect in the bridge section that sounds like a broken vibrator. “Bladecatcher” also features a bunch of half-assed minimalist riffs; in addition to a bunch of LSD inspired crap noises almost makes my ears bleed. Don’t even get me started on the 20 minute plus meandering bore fest “Pendulous Skin”, I already unsuccessfully tried to end it all over that one once earlier today.
The whole album is essentially a mishmash of half assed Pantera/Metallica riffs and kooky sound effects. This of course excludes the presence of good old Scott Kelly, a man who helped invent boring and redundant ambient music, who actually manages to sound better than Mastodon’s regular singer (this isn’t saying much obviously). “Crystal Skull” is probably the closest thing to a song on here; of course we still get plenty of unnecessary drum fills, not to mention a bad version of a Dimebag Darrel guitar solo. But the real kicker for me was the inclusion of Josh Homme (substitute the “me” for an “o”), one of the foursome of significant others known to the masses as the Queers of the Stone Age. Why is Mastodon even called a Metal band again? Huh? Oh yeah, that cover of Orion they did (take note that Orion is an instrumental) on that Metallica tribute album not too long ago (how many of those have we been subjected to). So if I pay tribute to the guys who helped kill heavy metal by letting them have a phallic sword fight in my mouth, will I get to sell millions of albums too?
So what is the cure for the disease that is Mastodon my aspiring metal musician friends? Simple, ignore the current farce that is mainstream Metalcore and Groove Metal, get in touch with that spirit that originally got Sabbath and their followers writing great stuff, and keep a mind for the difference between coherence and incoherence. This fad will hopefully die quickly, so do your part by not buying this album and thus supporting this crap. Mastodons are extinct because they were gigantic monstrosities of nature without higher brain function, hence the name of this band.