Bands who change their sound often get harsh criticism from fans and critics alike, since it often takes away from what made them good in the first place. Mastodon never really had this problem, since their transformation wasn’t rushed, but felt more like a natural transition. PLus, these are all ridiculously talented musicians, that can make pretty much make anything sound good. Here we have their 7th studio album, so let’s see if they can keep up the level they’ve been at for some time now.
The first thing that came to mind when listening to Emperor Of Sand was that they did it again. From the get-go, there were some songs that stood out, like Show Yourself ( that solo made me a little erect) or Word To The Wise, songs that would look good on any release, and will hopefully get the live treatment. But the more you listen to the album, the more it becomes apparent that this is once again an album that works as a whole. Thematically, it deals with death and mortality, themes that come back in all Mastodon albums, but here they seem to feature more prominently. This is probably due to the experiences of some of the members, who have seen people go through the awful disease that is cancer.
Musically, I feel they’ve gone back a bit, mixing The Hunter with Blood Mountain, which is a good thing for the fans of old, who should definitily give this one a go. Me, I like their whole discography, so this is no exception. The one thing that always blows me away, on any Mastodon release, is how goddamn proficient they are on their instruments. Once you start paying attention to each instrument individually, it’s astounding how good they are individually, and still mesh so perfectly. It’s one of the reasons they are where they are, and in my humble opinion they should have surpassed Metallica as premier band in metal a long time ago.
My favourite song is Word To The Wise. I love how the inital chug transitions into the chorus, and I hope they play this when I see them next time, because I will be belting every lyric without any mistake. As good as anyhting they’ve done.
Another essential release from the number one metalband of the 21st century. Their discography is becoming so ridiculously stacked, it should be mandatory for every person having even a little interest in metal. Great stuff.