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An epileptic fit of sound - 65%

lord_ghengis, November 24th, 2008

This, the second release by oxymoronic Tech-Groove metallers Mastodon is one of the most randomly energetic and just plain crazy sounding records you will hear in the style, it's three songs are just completely senseless and insane slabs of really quite heavy sludgy spasming. Only hearing the fairly acclaimed but only decent Blood Mountain, it's quite a surprise to hear this band deciding to go balls out quite as hard as they do here. It’s the same awkwardly jumpy sound that’s present on that album, but there is no subtlety to it and the focus is clearly on the angrier side of their music. There are no clean vocals, only one solo-y breathing break, and the vocals are far more aggressive and gruff, generally the occasionally submissive side of the band simply isn't here at all.

Everything here is an odd mix of Immolation-esque (In terms of rhythm, not music) rhythmic insanity and pulsing, and extremely heavy doomy sludge metal as heavy as you'll find anywhere all flying at you at an enormous range of varying tempos from the speed of a bullet, to the slow wandering of some kind of amputee tortoise, all the while constantly backed by gibberish drumming thanks to Brann Dailor. I've never really considered the drums an instrument where someone could play "gibberish" as such, they are such a rhythmic instrument they tend to always have at least a little bit of a set sound to follow. Sure deathcore drummers play a fill after every bar of music, but still, it’s still kept in a framing, but Brann here, he plays fills whenever the hell he feels like it, regardless of musical timing, and what’s more, he manages to do it for 10 minutes straight. He pretty much randomly slashes his arms around the kit as much as possible 100% of the time, and it sounds like utter poop. I love my tech drumming, his kit sounds cool and all, but the songs are total wastelands of scattered noise because of the lack of any constant timing in place. If Flo Mounier is an example of a drummer who manages to play 60 fills a minute without missing a beat, Dailor is an example of a drummer who plays 60 fills in a minute and doesn't even play a beat.

Still, despite the absolutely uncontrolled sputtering that this EP is, it's a pretty fun wild ride, not much of the technical wizardry that filled up Caparillian Crest seems to be present, this is a bludgeoning, pure and simple. It’s really not a good album, per se, it’s a mess, zero structure, zero restraint, but there’s more than enough good pieces of music here to keep me entertained. A surprisingly wild ride from a band that is now a little bit tame.