Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
A more traditional sound to appeal to a mass market.
on 23 January 2015
Had this a few days and I've played it pretty relentlessly on my new computer (largely because I have very little other music on here currently). Anyway, I think that this is an okay album. It's only my opinion; if you thought The Hunter was good and enjoyed the new direction Mastodon seemed to be taking then I am sure that you will probably like this, as they have continued to lose their heaviness, in the music and especially in the vocal delivery. I won't use the term 'selling out', but Mastodon are certainly not attempting to release genuinely 'heavy' metal records any more, it would seem.
There are some good tracks on here (Tread Lightly and Ember City were initial favourites, and the start of the album is certainly listenable). However, overall, I find this to be a rather unremarkable album from a band that previously left me scratching my head and thinking 'how on earth do they do that!?' The technicality has certainly taken a back seat; I'm not saying I, or any average Joe could play these songs per se, but just that the mind-bending riffs, scales are no longer present, and the relentless drum fills (which I personally loved on Blood Mountain and Leviathan) have disappeared. Instead we have a much more radio-friendly and 'catchy' LP, that has more tradition riffs and drumming. There are some interesting vocal harmonies explored here, but these are not as appealing to me as the more ferocious vocal delivery recorded on earlier albums. For the record, I am not just a 'metal-head', but love lots of musical genres.
Crack the Skye (potentially their best album?) was certainly not as heavy as the previous two records, but it was incredibly progressive and, as a whole, was probably their most cohesive album to listen to (Leviathan after this I would say). Blood Mountain was really just a collection of incredible songs, which perhaps didn't hold together so well, but was fantastic nonetheless. This album does feel (to me) like a bit of a commercial compromise, though I could well be wrong.
Overall I cannot give this more than 3 stars, much though I love the band. I have seen them 3 times in the past and would certainly see them again, but I would in all honesty be going to see the likes of 'Blood and Thunder' live as well as other material from the older albums. Average.