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Not as good as "Blood Mountain" - 82%

TheSunOfNothing, February 16th, 2009

This album basically lacks everything that "Leviathan" or "Blood Mountain" had. There is no clean singing, and the vocals sound like a cross between hardcore shouts and death grunts, with no melody whatsoever. Melody is one thing that Mastodon have always been good at, and it has always worked, even when vocalist/guitarist Brent Hinds attempts to "scream" and ends up sounding like a Hyena being beat by a caveman with a stereo (see "The Wolf Is Loose" live on Youtube and you'll know what I'm talking about). The only song to contain clean singing is "Trainwreck", and it's very weak, unlike later releases. I'm pretty sure that most of this album is done by vocalist/bassist Troy Saunders, who has always had a more tolerable voice, and who's voice sounds harsher and more angry. However, the vocals are barely in use here, as most of this album is instrumental.

Because the album focuses more on instrumentation, one would guess that the band would be like Neurosis and feature a large repotoire of instruments, or at least attempt to sound like they don't need vocals in order to sound good. Unfortunatly, the riffs, while very clever, sound like they need vocals to accompany them and therefore make them more noticable. The riffs are very well written and very groovy, as well as being very heavy, and bands like Dream Theater make up for this lack of vocals with technicality, but these guys don't have any show-offiness like DT does. It's all simple riff after riff. Fortunatly, the drummer makes things interesting by practically murdering his kit. He is fucking INSANE. His drum patterns are all over the place, and he is frequently makes use of fills, thus making him one of the higher points on this album.

The lyrics are my main problum. The lyrics are horrible. They really didn't put any thought into them, and the it's usually 2 words per line, which gets annoying really fast. I mean, seriously, who would read a 3 word sentance and say "man, that was so meaningful!"? Fortunatly the band would stop doing such things later in their career.

My favourite song on this album was "Trainwreck", because it was full of progressive and interesting guitar riffs, and is the most similar to what the band would later do. Another great track is "Mother Puncher" which is the sole song in which the whole "ultra heavy sludge/prog/grind/hardcore/rock" sound works, in that it never bores, and there is always another riff around the corner.

In conclusion, Remission, while not essential, is still a good listen. It reminds me of a mixture of Neurosis, Napalm Death, and System Of A Down. I would recommend "Leviathan" over this anyday though.