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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 September 2014
One of the best modern metal bands of the last ten years. I have really liked all their previous efforts, particulary The Hunter. Once More Round the Sun carries on. It sounds different enough from the other records to hold your attention. Not as instant as the Hunter, you need more spins to appreciate this and find the hidden gems, which there are plenty \m/
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Mastodon continue to leave most of the competition trailing in their wake. This album continues where The Hunter left off but at the same has plenty of nods to their past. New producer Nick Raskulinecz has carried off the same trick here as he did with Rush, he has encouraged the band to embrace and reference their past whilst at the same time pushing their music forward. The essential heaviness is still there, you can hear bits that would fit on Leviathan, Blood Mountain and Crack The Skye, but at no point do you feel that this a step back to those albums. The riffs are still there, the raging arpeggios up and down the fret board, Brann's drumming is still ferocious and out of this world. The vocals maybe a bit cleaner than those first few albums but who can blame them for wanting to make their albums a bit more accessible, and let's face it this is hardly some kind of commercial sell out, try playing this to your average Coldplay fan and watch their brain melt as they try to cope with savage complexity of this music. There is no point in trying to pick any outstanding tracks, as you listen to the album more and more you slowly realise that every track has much to admire. This is progressive metal of the highest order.
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on 11 March 2017
Mastodon is a special band for me, i don't listen to similar bands as my favorite genre but Mastodon always were interesting.
Their albums are very different from each other, sometimes is good or bad but it kept me interesting to listen to them.
The album is very enjoyable all over, not heavy as the firsts album even though you can still know is Mastodon, still heavy and sometimes weird parts and catchy, hard to decide which is better or worse, but for a band that not repeat itself is very good.
The drums always was the best part on the albums and here as well, Dailor is a hell of a drummer and suprisingly has nice vocals here, songs like 'The Motherload' and 'Ember City' which they are catchy but also great and addictive.
More highlights here are 'Chimes at Midnight', 'Halloween' and 'Tread Lightly'.
'Aunt Lisa' and 'Diamond in the Witch House' are harder to digest but still enjoyable.
Not every fan might like it or like some but i did and i think it is a fun album.
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on 3 March 2017
I've been listening to this album on and off for a few years now. Since it came out, in fact. It's now my joint favourite tied with Leviathan. The expansion of style and feel on The Hunter was fine with me but it didn't hang together very well, imo. This takes that change in style and shifts the confidence up to top gear, delivering a twistedly melodic, energised, heavy, cohesive chunk of genius. I hope the forthcoming Emperor Of Sand hits the high this one did.
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on 19 September 2015
’ve held off reviewing this for a while until I got used to it. I first heard the band just before their second full-length record Leviathan dropped, and got into Mastodon properly around the time The Workhorse Chronicles DVD was released. They’ve been a favourite band ever since, and each new album became a favourite that I’d listen to all year long. They always hold up. I saw them live a few times and it was always great fun.

Then when The Hunter came out, everyone started getting off the Mastodon train, at least it seemed. It used to be that this band could do no wrong in the court of public opinion and suddenly The Hunter was getting a lot of long-time fans feeling disappointed. I agree that it maybe doesn’t hold up so well as the others like Blood Mountain or Crack The Skye, but I really like half of it and like at least three quarters of it.

Still, the magical excitement phase was gone. Time went on, I got into other bands, Mastodon weren’t always on my mind all the time anymore. I wasn’t in a Mastodon mood when I first heard they had a new album coming out. The single “The High Road” didn’t win me over. The full stream of the album was released and with one quick listen it all seemed bland and samey and unexciting. I even started doubting The Hunter like everyone else. Then I saw the band live again and suddenly all these new songs came to life. It was like “Wow, hold on a second, the haven’t lost it at all!” I got given the new album as a gift soon after that and y’know what, I really fell in love with it.

Tracks like “Halloween,” as well as the single “The Motherload” and the Title Track are all joyous, uplifting and pure fun. Its not the crushing, pulverizing Mastodon of “Motherpuncher” or “We Built This Come Death” by a long shot, but the fun is undeniable. The record is a sort of feel-good sunshine album you’d never expect from these guys and yet it works absolutely perfectly.

Most of the album could still be described samey, but only in as much as it is consistent. The Hunter was perhaps too diverse, and as a result didn’t have the same lazer-beam focus that this does. This is a quick, easily digestible and smile-enducing journey through a new Mastodon who are in a good mood. That’s not to say its devoid of variety, just that its focused. Three songs stand out as being different for example; which are the aforementioned “High Road” as well as the Scott Kelly featuring album closer, and then the colourful “Aunt Lisa.” These moments contrast the speedy, light and happy fun of the rest of the record, and provide an essential change of pace that allows the whole thing to work and not feel too one-dimensional.

Elsewhere, the performances are great, the production job is crystal clear and the clean-vocals have never been more talented. Its brief, its focused and its fun.

Overall; Once More Around The Sun may not be to every Mastodon fan’s taste. It will never have the artistic depth of Crack The Skye or the crushing heaviness of Remission, but judged on its own merits its still damn good, even if its not what was expected. I personally like it a lot and I’d recommend people at least give it a shot, even if you’ve not been keeping up with the band recently.
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on 24 June 2014
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!

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on 22 October 2014
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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on 11 July 2014
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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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.
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on 23 June 2014
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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