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*yawn* - 25%

queen_cyanide, February 20th, 2005

"Genre defining"
This label seems to be stuck to so many bands these days. In magazines like Metal Hammer, bands like Soil are considering "genre defining" - and, as of late, in Terrorizer and other popular underground magazines, this band (Mastodon) has been hailed as one of the most extreme bands today, and the most original. Due to all the hype about this band, I though I would give them a listen.

Before I get into this review, I'm more into the Black Metal side of things - I won't say no to Death Metal, but I put my foot down at all these "core"'s they are coming up with to label medicore music these days. I don't mind a BIT of hardcore (Tragedy is above average in those stakes) so I'm not out to review an album of a genre I don't appreciate - and then just end up bagging the genre in broad, general terms.

The album starts with "Crusher Destroyer". The guitar is attempting to sound chaotic I gather, with the "hectic" drumming making it sound "all over the place". The guitars aren't really working all that hard, and the drummer is being technical for the sake of being technical, as it's not really lending to the flow of the song. But then again, I guess they aren't striving towards "flow".

Then it's "March of The Ants". I actually thought it was still the first song, but obviously not. (It's a good thing I looked at the display while I'm typing this.) I give the drummer credit, he can drum, but I don't hear anything original here. It goes on with the typical DM "squeal" of the guitar until it goes into a... punk riff! Or Emo, depending on how bitchy you want to be. I would have been more delighted it he started signing above this with "why... did you leave.. me" because it would be so befitting with the melody line, but to no avail. I never realised that repeating unemotive, banal riffs was genre defining.

Now it's into "Where strides the Behemoth". Where strides the originality? I'm really confused as to why people think this band is so special..? Being a guitar player myself I don't see the greatness in their guitar work. Maybe it's the whole stop, start, stop, irritating rhythm, lack of structure that draws in such devoted fans? Or is it the reviews in magazines?

Workhorse: this intro riff is boring. And ooh, surprise, its some awesome rhythm changes and quirky little beats. This next riff is a little Black Metal sounding I guess. This guy's voice doesn't change at all. Neither does the guitar. Overall, a boring, background music kind of song.

Ok, I can't even be bothered going into the rest of the songs on this album. For reviews of the next songs, just look at the reviews of songs above, they are pretty much identical.

I must say the drummer can drum. Unfortunately, he does the same patterns throughout the whole album. Don't get me wrong, Black Metal is full of continous blast beats, but noone really gives it more credit than it's due. I don't see why some guy changing the timing every 30 seconds, doing special/quirky little things here and there (sequences) is so fascinating/new. Perhaps all their fans are drummers. (This is why I gave the album 25%).

The guitarists of this band are average, I found none of the riffs inspiring, emotive, aggressive to the point of making me go "Now here is a angry riff" or original. They are technical, but not talented in a creative/expressive sense. What's the point in being technical, if you can't capture the listener in any emotive way?

The vocals are pretty average, so I can't really make a good metaphoric insult about them that would make me laugh. Pretty damn uninspiring and boring... which sums up the album really.