Mastodon: Emperor of Sand

What can I say about Mastodon? Well, they’re definitely not for everyone, but I think it’s safe to say that even those who don’t care for their music can certainly appreciate their talent. They have a unique construct with four members; all of which contribute their own unique vocal style, along with world-class playing ability. They have a complex and enterprising sound with elements of groove, hard rock, blues and jazz. Mastodon can also bring it heavy, and when they do, it’s like an explosion of roaring, chaotic thunder. Over the years, Mastodon have set the bar when it comes to progressive metal/rock, and they are, in my opinion, in a league of their own.

2017 has been an exciting year so far for metal fans. There’s been some great releases from Obituary, Immolation, Darkest Hour, Overkill, Havok, and of course Mastodon with their March 31, release ‘Emperor of Sand’. It’s too early to tell, but I think ‘Emperor of Sand’ is going to be one of the best releases of 2017. Let’s get into it.

When people go through times of suffering, it’ll either beat them down, or they’ll dig deep and make it through only to come out stronger on the other side. However, in some cases people will channel that pain into something creative which is exactly what Mastodon did with ‘Emperor of Sand’. Conceptually, this album is a reflection of the dark times we go through in life as detailed by the story of a man’s journey through the desert. Proggy enough for you? Musically, ‘Emperor of Sand’ is easily recognizable as a Mastodon album, but the band definitely pushes the envelope creatively by using different guitar tones, acoustic guitars, piano and some interesting vocal effects. My favorite aspect of this album are the guitars. There’s not a whole lot in the realm of traditional lead and rhythm as Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher both play with with their own distinct style; forming it all together seamlessly. And of course Brann Dailor delivers his usual stellar drum contribution with elegant speed and mind-blowing, jazzy precision. ‘Emperor of Sand’ is, in my opinion, the most progressive album Mastodon has released since ‘Blood Mountain’, and it’s a nice return to form from their previous album ‘Once More ‘Round the Sun’ which was a good album, but definitely seemed to be geared more toward the mainstream.

Notable tracks: “Sultan’s Curse”, “Steambreather” and “Roots Remain”.

Check out “Steambreather” right here.


David Yeager

David Yeager

Motto: Question everything. From Alexandria, VA. Love music, art, writing, weightlifting & the Redskins. Metallica, Pantera, Obituary, Carcass, Lamb of God, Volbeat, Dimmu Borgir, Dissection & As I Lay Dying.
David Yeager

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