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Well here it is, the new Mastodon album, the much-anticipated follow up to 200whatever’s Crack the Skye. What was expected to be an air themed album, the conclusion of their elemental quintology, is, as confirmed by Brent Hinds, actually flying write in the face of that concept. Thematics aside, does the quality of the album alone stand up? No, it sucks dick!
The opener, Black Tongue, actually instills one with a certain degree of hope for the rest of the songs. A heavy, memorable opening riff harkens back to Crack the Skye’s Oblivion. The difference is that this song, while competent, doesn’t develop into anything terribly astonishing. Many may be excited at the stripped down compositions, expecting something in similar vein to Remission. Well, you’ll also be disappointed, The Hunter’s song writing is miles away from early Mastodon, more in line with Fuse-friendly mallgoth metal.
A slew of stupidly titled songs follow the opener: Curl of the Burl, Blasteroid, Octopus Has No Friends, Bedazzled Fingernails, and perhaps the most offensively stupid, Stargasm, a delightful ode to sex in space. Musically there’s plenty to be desired. Every competent riff is ruined by the vocals. Someone tell Brent Hinds that he really can’t carry this level of singing. The band imitates everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Umphrey’s Magee to Coheed and Cambria to Avenged Sevenfold to Tool and god knows what else. Producer Mike Elizondo really shows his chops here. Not that I’d expect much from the co-producer of In Da Club. At the end of the day, Mastodon is just lost without a central theme, and Elizondo’s influence doesn’t really help matters.
Honestly there’s just not really much else to say. This album is just not very good. Missed opportunity coupled with many horrible new directions. Even regular guest Scott Kelley can’t do much to save his feature, Spectrelight. Seriously, Mastodon put out a real crock of shit. Why would they do that?