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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Further development of a trail blazing utterly unique band.
To get this off my chest immediately, 'Once More 'Round the Sun' is a culmination of all that Mastodon have nailed in the past. It contains elements from all their previous albums, with their progressive metal sound providing the backbone as ever. I'd say it's a combination of the pure metal from 'Blood Mountain' combined with the genre defying Mastodon progressive-ness...
Published 5 months ago by Smatch

versus
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The "Déjà-vu" paradigm
The first image that came to my mind after listening to this new album was "auto-pilot". The band has delivered some seriously highly inspired albums in the past years, change their ways and approach with a constant evolution. With "Once more...", Mastodon offers a good album of high class metal, extremely well-played, but with all ingredients taken from...
Published 5 months ago by Phil On


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Further development of a trail blazing utterly unique band., 23 Jun 2014
By 
Smatch (South West) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
To get this off my chest immediately, 'Once More 'Round the Sun' is a culmination of all that Mastodon have nailed in the past. It contains elements from all their previous albums, with their progressive metal sound providing the backbone as ever. I'd say it's a combination of the pure metal from 'Blood Mountain' combined with the genre defying Mastodon progressive-ness of 2009's 'Crack the Skye' and the feel of 2011's 'The Hunter'. And like 'The Hunter' this new album doesn't have a central concept running through it, so each song feels individual, yet knitted perfectly into the overall scope of the album, it is such scope that 'Once More 'Round the Sun' matures with each listen, it's so layered with different sounds that it takes a couple of listents through at least, to fully start to appreciate what they've achieved here, this is not 'paint by numbers' music.

It's heavy, with technically interesting blasts of riffage, soaring choruses, smashing breakdowns and all laced together with their immense musical talent as a band, you can tell they love doing it and you can tell they will continue to develop whatever "genre" Mastodon come under... for now I'll leave it as the genre of 'Mastodon' perhaps.

You've got everything you'd want and more from the Mastodon of today here; epic opening passages and vocal choruses exhibited in opener 'Tread Lightly' and also 'The Motherload', unrelenting pace in 'Chimes at Midnight' and the amazing ability to seamlessly switch up the sound and tempo mid song. On a quick note, I'd also go as far to say that 'Tread Lightly' has one of the most enjoyable pre-solo passages I've ever heard from Mastodon.
Additionally, songs like 'The Motherload' just shout to the guitar writing/playing skill and knowledge of Brent Hinds, combined with the solid playing of Bill Kelliher. It's an explosion of unrelenting sound.

The "lead" vocals of Troy Sanders are better than ever, his roar is as powerful as ever; most notable in 'High Road' and 'Ember City'. Drummer Brann Dailor also provides a nice alternative vocal high end to cut through the doom of Sanders, with stand out performances with harmonies in 'High Road' and lead in 'Asleep in the Deep', another gloriously and darkly melodic prog-metal concoction. Brent Hinds as ever provides yet another edge to the triumvirate of vocals which again make this band so unique, his sharp voice is exhibited in 'Halloween', which is also a guitar masterclass in riff and lead from him; he provides a classic Schenker-esque opening riff and morphs it into something dirtily special with his unique note selection born out of an early education in the banjo, this skill is also in the banjo-esque intro of 'Aunt Lisa'. 'Halloween' also features a heavy breakdown riff reminiscent of 'Crack the Skye's 'Last Baron' and doesn't let up for a second.
And to put it simply; Brann Dailor continues to prove why he is arguably the best rock drummer in the world today, with pure energy and progressive fills he leads you through each song, providing fantastic colour to every single song.

In my opinion Mastodon's whole body of work will be looked at in 20 years time from now to illustrate a band leading the way and pushing forward the boundaries of progressive metal. They've done something I thought any modern "metal" band would never be able to achieve: they've developed a sound; unique, fresh, interesting, loose and yet technically fantastic and rich, that doesn't show any signs of tapering off.
Mastodon's album artwork has also been another facet to the band that's always impressed me. From the moody illustrations of Paul Romano to the modern contemporary restrained design of 'The Hunter', with it's wooden beast sculptured by AJ Fosik and now to this utterly insane a acid fuelled painted piece by artist Skinner.

'The Hunter' was in my opinion a solid stop gap in their career, a tune up if you will, as they were coming off the heights of 'Crack the Skye' and that is a hard, hard sound to top, or even come close to, especially given the fact that it was a pure concept album, with a narrative flowing throughout. For this reason I think this album has the potential to divide fans into those that loved 'Sky' and weren't impressed by 'Hunter' and people who love the early thrashing style of 'Mountain' and appreciate the new sound of 'Hunter'. I thought 'Crack the Skye' was simply a masterpiece and doubtless their pinnacle so far, I thought 'The Hunter' was solid and interesting and I think ''Once More 'Round the Sun' is a vast, vast improvement on that. Would I put it above 'Skye'? Absolutely not, but I wouldn't go looking for every opportunity to compare the two either.

Either way I look at it, Mastodon have put out a fantastic album, and I'm excited to see where they go next. It may be the right time for one more concept.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastodon's defining album???, 24 Jun 2014
This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
I've been a Mastodon fan since the days of Remission and Leviathan and have watched them change and grow into a completely different beast from the Metal sludge monsters they started off as.

Without going into too much detail this album is a great combination of old meets new Mastodon. Much closer to the excellent Blood Mountain in comparison. The song writing has also made a giant leap too!

I've only heard the album a few times so far but I can see this competing with Behemoth for album of the year with the Heavy Metal faithful.

Is this Mastodon's defining moment? Who knows. But in years too come don't bet against it when it comes to the critics announcing the band's best of their stellar back catalogue!

5/5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have not stopped playing the album!, 11 July 2014
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This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
There's not much more I can say that the other 5 star reviews haven't' said already, but this album is absolutely brilliant in my humble opinion. People whining about how it isn't the same band any more really can not hear good music when it's right in front of them. Mastodon, like Opeth (another band who release consistently good albums) are a progressive band, in many ways. The music is progressive, definitely, but the band's style has also progressed, becoming much more concise but without losing the creativity. They music is merely a representation of where they are in their lives now (something master Devin Townsend likes to point out whenever he releases his consistently good albums) and they are not the same people who made Remission. People forget that music is a representation of it's creator, making it a very personal thing, and we as fans need to respect that. They don't write for us, they write for themselves and are so much better for it.

The songs on this album (especially the first 5 or so) are incredibly catchy - and catchy is a great thing! I've been humming the chorus's to The Motherload and High Road for the past few days and I can't get enough! I recently saw them live at Sonisphere Festival and they played some material off of the album and it blew me away entirely. The second half of the album is way more psychedelic and resembles past Mastodon a bit more, with some (well, most!) of the riffs being absolutely huge and some really nice instrumentation and arranging between the entire band. And Brent's solo's are as wicked as ever!

Definitely my favourite 'Don album and I hope they continue in this direction with more emphasis on melody and Bran's voice whilst sill keeping the complexity and the proggyness, and if not, then I'll love whatever they do regardless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great if not classic Mastodon album., 22 Oct 2014
This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
Although this album is unmistakably Mastodon, it does deviate quite significantly from their more 'riff-based' formula. The riffs are still there in abundance, but they seem to take a more supportive role on this album and compliment the vocal line and melody more, as opposed to grabbing your attention and hiding the vocals as they did on their earlier work like 'Remission' for example.
This album definitely needs a few listens to fully appreciate. I found myself thinking 'this is quite crap' on a first, rushed listen in my car.
The first 5 songs are great.
Opener 'Tread Lightly' lets the listener know that while Mastodon are back, they aren't quite the same. Chock full of complimenting riffs and a fast pace, with their trademark drawn out appregiated chords.
The riff heavy singles/videos 'High Road' and 'The Motherload' are great and are probably the most conventional Mastodon songs on the album and are great. Big, memorable riffs, catchy choruses, brilliant.
The haunting intro to 'Chimes at Midnight' is very creepy and atmospheric before slamming into life with a hammer on / pull off riff.
'Asleep in the Deep' and 'Feast Your Eyes' are two of the weakest tracks and are really quite mediocre songs really, that aren't very memorable at all.
I can't tell if the 'The Coathangers' led breakdown in 'Aunt Lisa' is random genius or totally out of place, either way, the riff underneath is great and is a very different sounding song from this band.
Closer and oddly titled 'Diamonds in The Witch House' is the obligatory Scott Kelly guest appearance, and he takes on a more prominent lead vocalist role this time, than he normally does to great effect. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album and one of the longest and most epic by the band since 'Crack The Skye'.
Is this album better than 'Remission,' 'Leviathan,' and 'Crack The Skye'. No. Better than 'Blood Mountain?' Probably not. Better than 'The Hunter', probably but can be argued otherwise. Is it a great album? Yes of course it is, but I just feel there's a liitle spark missing. Hopefully, the band will return to their more sludgy, extreme metal and conceptual roots on the next album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard Rocking, 7 Aug 2014
This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
We all know Mastodon and we all have a particular album that we have latched on to and then claim that they never sounded so good. In truth all of their albums are unmistakably Mastodon albums just with one particular facet of the beast tweaked slightly. Be it Proggy, heavy or just good time rock. Their sound doesn’t really change, just how they present it ‘Once More...’ is no different.

For good or bad this is a beast under control; sleek, mean and rocking, it does mean that it’s a bit less dynamic than previous albums, texture wise even ‘The Hunter’ felt more adventurous. It does have a straightforward sense of fun and will likely grow their fan base even further, even if they lose their more uptight long timers.

These straightforward Mastodonized rock songs are well worth investing in, just approach with a more open mind. If you only tolerated ‘The Hunter’ you might want to give this a miss. Oh and the Marylin Manson ‘Mobscene’ aping ‘Aunt Lisa’ is pure gold.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another great Mastodon album, 24 Aug 2014
This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
At this point, Mastodon can basically be guaranteed to release a good album. Although their sound has changed massively from Remission to The Hunter and now to Once More 'Round the Sun, they've always maintained a high quality - which, in my opinion, reached its peak with the absolutely flawless Crack the Skye. This album is a lot closer to The Hunter in sound, but is still rather different - it has more of a stoner vibe is say. This album probably also has the catchiest choruses of any Mastodon album - seriously, they'll get in your head for weeks on end, they're fantastic.

However, even though this is another fantastic addition to the Mastodon catalogue, I can't help but feel it may be their worst to date. Whereas every other album had no 'filler tracks' at all (something I guess that can be put down to the strong narrative focus of earlier works), there are a couple of songs on this album I find slightly lagging - mainly 'Feast Your Eyes' and 'Halloween'. Still though, in the grand scheme of things they're not necessarily bad songs, they just don't seem to be in the same league as some of the other songs.

Overall, even though I may believe it to be the worst Mastodon album yet, it is by no means a misstep and is still thoroughly enjoyable. If you're unsure of getting it, check out 'Asleep in the Deep' (the best song, for my money) and 'Chimes at Midnight'.

And hopefully they'll bring out that Winter EP too!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another great album Once More, 25 July 2014
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This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
Oh yes indeed, the new Mastodon! After The Hunter I expected them to either continue with simplistic song-writing or kick it up a notch and go back to the Remission/Leviathan days, and what I got was better than I expected! This is the album where I truly realised that Mastodon are not just great musicians who have conquered their instruments but also amazing song-writers! The way they stripped away everything to it's bare bones and it still had such an amazing effect solidified this for me. The album begins with an beautiful acoustic intro into 'Tread Lightly' which is reminiscent of 'Elephant Man'/'Joseph Merrick' from their first two albums, then it continues in strength with the anthemic chorus of 'The Motherload' and the heavy riffage of 'High Road'. Later on in the album the massive 'Aunt Lisa' arrives with a tinge of Faith No More mixed with The Ramones but it still was able to sound like a Mastodon song. This along with The Hunter have also displayed how much Brent and Troy's vocals have improved over the years, in both singing and screaming and the inclusion of Brann singing gives the songs delightful harmonies.
This amazing band still continue to make brilliant albums after over 15 years, changing their style but keeping that signature sound that have made them possibly the best metal band of the 21st century.

Essential Tracks:
The Motherload
High Load
Chimes At Midnight
Aunt Lisa
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The "Déjà-vu" paradigm, 24 Jun 2014
This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
The first image that came to my mind after listening to this new album was "auto-pilot". The band has delivered some seriously highly inspired albums in the past years, change their ways and approach with a constant evolution. With "Once more...", Mastodon offers a good album of high class metal, extremely well-played, but with all ingredients taken from the their back catalogue.
Some might see it as a confirmation of their talent, I see it as a step backward in the creative department.
Are they running out of ideas, or is this simply a slow-down in their artistic process? Too soon to tell...

In terms of comparaison, I'd say this album is to Mastodon what "Hold your fire" is to "Rush", a good album, but not very exciting, with lots of good ideas but no real sparkle...Something safe.

I'd say that far from being a bad album, "Once More..." just doesn't hold up to the (high) standards of its predecessors.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Album Boys, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
Although I haven't bought my own copy yet, I listened to the itunes stream several times. I'm one of many who really responded to Mastodon when Crack the Skye was released and I genuinely prefer the more melodic side to the band and even after listening to the back catalogue of albums and of course The Hunter which followed, I still feel that 'Skye' is their most well rounded album and remains my favorite. That being said, Once More 'Round the Sun gives it a run for it's money. Although not every track on the album is great i.e 'Chimes' and 'High Road', the album as a whole is fantastic with 'Halloween' being the personal highlight for me, potentially being one of Mastodon's best songs yet. Don't disregard the negative reviews nor the overly positive ones but do yourself a favor, give it a listen and decide for yourself!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastodon once more, 23 Jun 2014
By 
Tipperbodda (Burton on Trent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
This band never disappoint. They are possibly the only band I've ever listened to that out-do themselves every album. Once More Round The Sun has everything you want, Heavy, melodic,insane guitar playing and sick drumming. Also these guys have advanced so much vocally on this album. I would recommend this to any fan of Mastodon or even any fan of heavy rock/ metal. It's amazing and it won't be leaving my CD player for a long long time.
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