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"Remission" is a really good album. It's a very surprising album. True, many times it gives a feel of some sort of chaos, but that is just because it's a new type of music and after you start getting used to it you can see the patterns in the music and you realize how brilliant this album is. I tried to define what genre Mastodon are, but failed miserably. Maybe it's the beginning of a new genre. Their originallity brings a new wind to my CD player, and they have the talent to support it.
When the album kicked off with "Crusher - Destroyer" and it got to the fast riff and then solo part I knew this album is gonna rock. Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher take the lead here and the occasional solos don't fail. The riffs are not particularly fast, but they are (all) good and rather in the speed for headbanging. It must be pointed out that there is a lot more to Mastodon than headbanging, and they construct riffs which are both intricate and comprehensible.
The vocals are quite forgettable, which is a good thing. It means that the music stands for itself and there are a lot of instrumental parts. A glance at the lyric sheet shows very short lyrics, as Troy Sanders can find the time to play bass, which is more important, since when he does both the bass sounds somewhat shallow.
On the other hand, when Sanders does not sing the bass is rich, wild and stands for itself, which adds a new dimension to the music. This is true for both the quiet and loud songs, however it is slightly more audible in the quiet ones.
There are four relatively quiet songs in the album. Listening to them showcases Mastodon as energetic and attentive to details. They show that Mastodon are highly talented on both technical and composition scale. They are not as good as the loud ones, but are definately not boring.
Brann Dailor is one of the (many) highlights in "Remission". The drumming is very unique and border breaking. He plays in unusual tempos and breakes beats like a madman. It's like he plays several drum solos in one song. Sometimes he takes it too far and doesn't harmonize with the guitars, but even in these times he shows some excellent talent. Even the quiet songs has the most passionate drums I heard so far, and he should be credited fot that.
Production has made an injustice with Dailor. The album leaves the drumming in the background, and they are fully audible only in the quiet bits. The same goes for the vocals, but in this case it's for the best. The bass, however, receives a lot of attention and the mixing makes sure we all know what Sanders is doing. The guitars sound somewhat diffused and not enough concentrated (which also adds to that misleading feeling of chaos).
In an overall look, little things, but mainly the quiet tracks, keep the album from being scored 100, yet none of them overshadow the great talent and potential, the original music, the heaviness and the overall excellence of "Remission". My personal favorites: "Crusher Destroyer", "Workhorse", "Burning Man", "Trampled under Hoof".