on 29 October 2004
This was a bit of a gamble for me.I bought this album due to the reviews it was getting in Classic Rock and Kerrang.This is not something I usually do as I buy most of the time on impulse.
I wasn't dissapointed! The musicianship contained on this cd is incredible.From a drummers point of view this is highly technical stuff with most songs composed with loads of fills and very jazz like patterns.
It is also enormously heavy in places but also gentle in other parts.
It does take a few listens to get into it but bear with it. You'll get to a point,like myself,where you cannot stop listening to it as you get totally absorbed within its aural landscape.
You have no excuses.BUY THIS ALBUM NOW!!!!!
on 9 December 2007
In the new millenium, the American metal scene has become clogged up with far too many stale, indistinguishable metalcore acts, such as Killswitch Engage and the DREADFUl Atreyu. However, a certain band called Mastodon stands out in that sea of mediocrity like the white whale on the album's cover. Why? Good question. That's partly becuase Mastodon mangaged to fuse together so many different subgenres of metal to create their own intense, utterly original sound. You may hear elements of Stoner's massive heaviness, thrash's intensity and prog rock's extreme complexity in their sound. Like their band name would suggest, Mastodon's sound is absolutely huge and unstoppable, but it is also very rhythmically complex and dexterous. This is mainly due to Brann Dailor's fill-heavy, jazz fusion-esque drumming. He underlies every song with drumming more complex than almost any other metal drummer could comprehend. The band made this unique style evident on their brutal debut album Remission. That was definitely a great album, but it pales in comparison to this.
Leviathan, the band's second album, is a loose concept album based on Herman Melville's classic book Moby Dick, a fitting story to base a heavy metal album on. However, Mastodon managed to create the PERFECT match for this book in their sound on Leviathan. The clear but dense production gives Leviathan a sound as bottomless and huge as an ocean. The vocals, although slightly more melodic and varied than on Remission, are still mostly harsh, aggressive barks to carry the intense nature of the songs. However, the vocals are occasionally eerie singing, as on the menacing, progressive Seabeast and the harmonic Naked Burn. Yet one of the album's main tricks is that the vocals aren't mixed to the very forefront like on most albums. Instead, they are less dominant and almost act as another instrument, so to speak.
As my description of Mastodon's sound may have suggested, Leviathan is absolutely mind blowing musically. The band are clearly highly skilled and show plenty of comlex chops. For example, opener Blood and Thunder gets underway with its thunderous, unstoppable riff and abrasive-but-cool vocals. It has one hell of a chorus and then the song moves into a stunningly technical, prog metal-style guitar bridge which brings the song to a great hight before it comes crashing back down again like a tidal wave. Other songs such as I Am Ahab contain brilliant intrumental breaks to add to the sense of tight band interplay. the band displays songwriting that borders on genius as songs morph from eerie clean guitar lines to violent riffing to complex guitar harmonies with ease and tempos often change. The complex song structures are part of what make this intense album brilliant. The album, however, is not always intense and quite diverse. The crunchingly heavy Iceland, Iron tusk and Megalodon are places alongside the calmer but still ominous Seabeast and Naked Burn and the acoustic/electric instrumental Joseph Merrick. My personal fave is the thirteen minute monster Hearts Alive. I wont spoil is but it contains one of the best riffs I've ever heard.
All in all Leviathan is more intense, focused and even accessible than Remission. Even with Blood Mountain released last year, I'd still say this is their best so far. The unique, complex and heavy sound of Leviathan is just mind-blowing and makes it one of the best metal albums of the last few years in my book. Modern Prog Metal at its very best, this is essential for any metalhead bored with the modern metal trends.
on 24 April 2006
I had never listened to Mastodon, but my friend really buzzed off them, so I thought "why not?" and bought this album. Possibly the best thing I have ever done. In my favourite albums ever list, this rates third behind Metallica's Master of Puppets and Led Zeppelin 4.
The album is brutally heavy in some places, but they can go acoustic quite well, and Brent Hinds' little country lick in Megalodon should not be missed by anyone! The vocals change throughout the album so you can never be sure it is the same vocalist!!!
All in all, a quality buy, I suggest this album to anyone.
on 21 May 2016
One of my all-time favourite albums. Guitar riffs and drums on this album are ace. It's got to be up there with Black Sabbath's Master of Reality and Metallica's Metallica as one of the great Metal albums of all time.
on 26 September 2004
I'm new to Mastodon, took a chance after some positive reviews on other websites. Like all up and coming bands, they suffer from some muddy production, especially in the vocal area, but the musicianship on show here is top notch.
Crushing riffs, amazing solos, powerhouse drumming, Mastodon are the complete metal band. Difficult to find comparisons at the moment as most recent bands just tread the same formulaic path. Maybe 'Lamb of God' are a good reference point, but with perhaps a greater sense of melody. Just check out the penultimate track - 'Hearts Alive' - nine and a half minutes of incredible yet cerebral metal. Can't wait to find their previous EP.
on 12 November 2006
At fist listen, the atlanta's quartet second studio album, is good and shows off some good metal. However on your third listen, the album really comes into focus- the primal ferocity and simple guitar riffs, swell together to create an epic feeling, indeed as big, worthy of their band name. The album starts off with first single and by far most feroucious -"Blood And Thunder" from its casual riff, to the sludgey chorus, an impressive start. From then on, thenalbum never drops in quality, from the progressive "Seabeast" to the brutal "iron Tusk" and finnaly to the gentle strains of "Joseph Merrick".
Defintley, better than the band wagon jumpers bullet for my valentine and et al for metalcore, a modern slice of metal genius, if you like metal, you need this album, as essential as master of puppets and as sludgey as toxic waste dump, and as metal as a slab of iron, this a must for metal fans world wide. genius concept album.
on 15 November 2004
2004 has seen some excellent releases from bands known as the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal and "Leviathan" is one of the best, along with "Blast Tyrant" from Clutch. Fallon from Clutch also guests on this album.
Don't expect to get into Leviathan on the first listen, the change in song format and chord sequences can come across as confused but Mastodon have a clear plot of what they want to achieve and the epic works extremely well. Forget the reviews that have Mastodon as a cross between Metallica and Rush, they are a totally unique concept in the way that The Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah are the most copied bands in the world.
This is music you MUST own!
on 10 February 2005
Remission is, in my opinion, not only one of the best albums of the last ten years but also an album that totally revives faith in modern metal. Compared to how impressive that album is, this album is not quite up to its incredible level. However, it is still damn genius. It is also noticably different. The first full-length split into three types of songs- epic tracks that went from light to loud, mid-paced almost stoner tracks with an unusual twist on the riffs and finally proper full-throttle metallic aggression tracks. Leviathan, with a few exceptions, amalgamates these styles into the songs, making them light, fast, chaotic and diverse. The exceptions are the brilliantly titled Blood and Thunder and Iron Tusk, both of these are more of the typical mid-paced, twisted stoner style. The rest frequently begin with a nice, melody before descending into full-pelt aggressive chaos. Also, a lighter style of singing is mixed into a couple of tracks, reminiscent of a style they flirted with on their Lifesblood EP (far less impressive than the albums).
One note must be made for Hearts Alive as it brings back the tuly epic and is totally bewildering on the first few listens. It also has an incredible, searing solo on it. Near 14 minutes and it is really impressive stuff, far more adventurous than anything else they've done and quite the masterpiece.
Ultimately, I was a little dissapointed as I expected an extension upon the original template instead of a slight change in direction. However, the album is more of a grower and the psychedlicy/proggy touch is quite a nice twist. Oh and the fact that Joseph Merrick is nowhere near as blinding as the chiiled out stoner jam of Elephantman was a little bit of dampner too.
One last thing: There drummer is the most incredible thing you will ever here. EVER.
on 23 September 2004
I've been waiting for this album for quite some time now. Their last album, remission, I've already worn out. You see, this album is like a fresh breath to the metal scene. And the reason why, is because it's good old times heavy metal given a modern sound. These days theres about a thousand records coming out each month, and everyone is trying to grab your attention with their new twists on musical styles and genres. Mastodon on the other hand, are keeping it old school but still very fresh. But that doesnt have to mean its any good, you ask. Why going backwards instead of forwards? Well, I guess in the same way that Lamb Of God have made thrash sound cool again, or the way that The Darkness have kickstarted the 80's rock scene again, Mastodon really gives you a good feeling about metal. Its fast, but not to frantic, its brutal, but its also mellow. And these guys have no problem letting it rip, with two members serving time in Today Is The Day and Lethargy. Its hard to explain, but this is just one of the best metal albums you'll ever hear. If you buy it and don't like it, you just don't like metal. If you need any directions as how the music sounds, try a mix of Metallica, Yes, Dillinger Escape Plan and Neurosis. And yes, it works, and sounds great.
on 22 October 2004
Bought this album on the back of some strong reviews, and it was worth it. In my opinion it takes a couple of listens to warm into it properly, but there is some excellent work in here as the 'story' unfolds. I wouldnt overdo the comparisons with Metallica, although slightly reminiscent of the 'Justice' era, which after all was some of their finest. Some true metal riffs in there, great guitar work although the vocals perhaps could have been stronger. In all, a worthy album.