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brutal soundscapes... - 80%

ironasinmaiden, December 24th, 2002

Relapse Records seems to have it's finger of the pulse of everything that is pushing the boundaries of intensity in today's metal scene. From the over the top grind of PxDx and Agoraphobic Nosebleed to these guys, the aptly titled Mastodon, they sure know to pickem.

One part Dillinger Escape Plan, the other part Kyuss, Mastodon are uncomprisingly heavy, yet they still manage to make dynamic and memorable music. "Dynamic" is the key word here... "aesthetics" would be another one. Mastodon shift from texture to texture flawlessly, creating soundscapes that bring to (my) mind cosmic planes, windtorn deserts, and other such imagery. Musically, they use dense riffage and intricate signatures to the fullest, without sounding too frenetic... in fact, it is possible not to notice their technicality on the first listen, a result of their ace songwriting.

The most extraordinary thing about Mastodon, however, is their drummer, Brann Dailor. Holy shit, this guy tears up the kit on this one, dropping mind boggling fills and snare tricks almost every few seconds. The Remission is one of the only albums I own (tool's lateralus is another..) where it's easy to pay more attention to the drums than the band as a whole . THAT is how good this guy is... his cymbal work is commendable as well.

I don't know if I would use "stoner rock" to describe Mastodon, but the droning guitar tone and penchant for ear candy does nothing to revoke it. If you dig on the whole Relapse scene you should have no trouble falling for Mastodon... excellent band.