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Blood Mountain

1 rating: 5.0
An album by Mastodon

You could have passed it off as a fluke.Remissionwas an awesome album, helping revitalize metal and bringing the band much deserved notice.Leviathanwas a gigantic leap, perhaps the most ambitious metal album in years. But could it keep going? People … see full wiki

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1 review about Blood Mountain

"the call to adventure comes..."

  • Jun 20, 2007
With all the prosaic 'metalcore' bands clogging the arteries of America's "new wave" of metal, Mastodon is like a quadruple bypass of pure awesomeness. Their sound is unique and their songwriting skills have reached sheer perfection with _Blood Mountain_. If you are even vaguely "into" intelligent, heavy music, but have not heard this band, please pick up this album posthaste. For all the enjoyment I continue to Mastodon's outstanding previous releases _remission_ and _Leviathan_, I would trade them both for _Blood Mountain_ if I had to.

Mastodon still possesses its brutish, nasty aesthetic that unforgettably scars you, but _Blood Mountain_ is a more ambitious album than the band's previous ones and vastly more diverse. "The Wolf Is Loose" launches the album with no intro-riff, no part where "everything kicks in", no effects to generate atmosphere, just a quick deft drum roll and then the muscular onslaught of riffs and drums, at high and higher speeds. This is the only song so straight-up. Beyond the breathless introduction, tracks grow more complex and progressively structured, and the dynamics informed by so much more instrumental imagination. And there's a lot of different vocals on this album, from the Mastodon standard to a whole range of strange other vocalizations, like high-pitched (the finale of "Siberian Divide"), drunken gibberish ("Pendulous Skin") and rather badazz clean singing ("This Mortal Soil").

"Crystal Skull" follows the opener with its blend of triumphant leads, chugging crunch and sections of riffs that sound like classic 70s rock distorted to hell. "Sleeping Giant" is possibly the album's greatest moment. I get goosebumps during the intro that uses a remarkable slow-build of multitracked guitars, groaning bass, and percussion with string accompaniment (violins and cello). The sense of texture and progression is perfect. The main theme of the track is a haunting, echoic guitar lead and its appearances are separated by the crooked riffs and cool vox like "infinite path carved with unrivaled skill". "Capillarian Crest" clomps through mid-tempo before accelerating to a dazzling prog-metal-like instrumental bridge. "Colony of Birchmen" is the catchiest Mastodon song so far. "Circle of Cysquatch" is a menacing, frantic and heavy track with a strange interlude of vocoder.
The music is incredibly evocative, as on "Siberian Divide", where the band toggles between shifting prog-metal measures, and brutal slabs of and tense quiet parts (and an ending that kills). The lyrics, in fragmentary sentences, are wicked -- "ice god shakes the earth | destruction of the path | sinking deeper in the snow | eating bark with blackened hand". you need to hear it to get the idea. But there is far more. the instrumental "Pendulous Skin", with its electro-acoustic mix and organ tones, is beautiful in a rough way so it does not at all sound `pretty'. The unintelligible `singing' it sounds very emotional to me. The guitar solo is intuitive and wrenching. Also highly atmospheric are of the mini-epic "Sleeping Giant" and the stern, adventurous electric melody stroked by strummed acoustic guitar that opens "This Mortal Soil" (this kicks into one of the awesomest Mastodon breakdowns ever, and rhythmic tricks that would explode the brain of any caveman). "bladecatcher" is beyond frantic, a superfast thrash-n-burn piece with bursts of scratching noises, punctuated by super melodically charged guitar harmonies. this instrumental stands out as the most surprising track on the album.

If you have the opportunity to pick up the limited edition, please do. It features a very impressive, colorful sleeve (way better than just the booklet cover, but basically the same pic) with makes for a physically nicer item in the collection. Also it has a good dvd with the "capillarian crest" video and very entertaining "making of" documentary. I think there's some other stuff on it too.

Overall, _Blood Mountain_ is different and shows an evolution, but the band has not lost any of its fire or the intuitive metal sense of attack. Absolutely a must-have.

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Blood Mountain
Label: Reprise, Wea
Artist: Mastodon
Release Date: September 12, 2006

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