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Mastodon-“Once More ‘Round The Sun” Review

The masterful Mastodon (image courtesy gunshyassassin.com)

The masterful Mastodon (image courtesy gunshyassassin.com)

 

One of the most acclaimed bands, not just in their field, but modern music in general, Mastodon have always seemed to be on the cusp of a major breakthrough. This is despite their stock in trade being complex, progressive and conceptually bonkers heavy metal. But with two Grammy nominations, a top ten US album under they’re belts and ringing endorsements from the likes of Metallica, could Mastodon be about to conquer the mainstream?

Matching the standard they’ve set themselves before is a difficult task for Mastodon to set themselves up for, but the band are more than up to the challenge. Opening tracks such as Tread Lightly and High Road are classic Mastodon, but therein lies the closest thing to a problem. Rather than break new ground as they did on 2009’s glorious Crack The Skye, Mastodon have chosen to emulate 2011’s (relatively) more straight forward The Hunter. Consequently, the listeners mind isn’t so much blown as pleasantly breezed. This is a band still at the peak of their powers, but Once More ‘Round The Sun is, unlike previous albums of their’s, not the discovery of a level the listeners never new existed. Instead, this album is more of a solidification of their status as kings of their genre.

That being said, “straight-forward” Mastodon is still more engaging and enjoyably challenging than 90% of music you’ll hear anywhere else. Asleep In The Deep is a real stand-out, all complex time structures and rolling drum fills, but still somehow catchy. “Aunt Lisa” uses a guest spot from all girl punk group The Coathangers to give the band’s sound a new lease of life.

Not that Mastodon were ever in danger of passing away. The only metal band aside from Metallica to appear on Jools Holland, Mastodon are a rare and surprising example of a genuinely game-changing band achieving commercial and critical recognition for their achievements. Mastodon will never appear on Graham Norton, but that’s ok. They are heavy metal’s Daft Punk: everyone else is just playing catch-up.

 

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