Remission is a hell of an album. Leviathan is a concept album about Moby Dick, which is a tremendous idea that was executed far better than you’d think a proggy heavy metal concept album about Moby Dick could possibly be pulled off. And the album art is something out of this world, but not in a terrible scribbling-daggers-in-yer-notebook oh-man-i-hate-7th-period-math way, thankfully.
Blood Mountain is a lot cleaner and a lot more proggy than either of these albums, which is probably why it’s getting so much attention. Bravo for such attention, of course, because these guys could and should be hugely successful. But it’s definitely stepping away from the earlier material. I played a few tracks for a friend who’s only vaguely educated on matters involving metal and heaviness, and he said something I had only sniffed at previously; it sounds like an early 90s throwback. Why? The vocals are all over the place, and far more singing than growling. The structure is very complicated, unlike most 90s metal – so maybe it’s the album art.
Regardless, this will be hugely popular. It sounds big and beautiful, and it has grown on me quite a bit since i picked it up this past Friday. But it’s no Remission. Nor should it be. This should be a hit with people who like complicated metal, guys with beards and should be a required purchase for anyone who owns a skull bong. Those poor fuckers need all the help they can get.
The included DVD in the deluxe edition has a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the album and a concert-style video of Capillarian Crest. The title of which, by the way, tells us a lot about this album. What the fuck is a Capillarian Crest? I don’t know, but it’s complicated and involves a lot of fast guitars and catchy chanted singing. I would much rather have a video for Crystal Skull, which is far more straightforward and balls-out rocky. But Mastodon seems like a group of really nice guys who think a little too much about the music they make and are immensely talented. Trying to explain metal is kind of pointless, because it’s a visceral thing. How do you explain the bliss of throwing your hands in the air and screaming? Explanations only end up sounding like a comic book guy trying to justify wasting hours on that crap.
Sample: Crystal Skull