Mastodon

Record review

Phases & Stages

Mastodon

Blood Mountain (Reprise)

A move to the majors didn't kill the Mastodon. From opener "The Wolf Is Loose," it's clear the Atlanta quartet has journeyed further into the abyss. This time it's not a white whale; however, it's a horrific mountain that turns you into a cannibal, and the symbolism isn't accidental. Drummer Brann Dailor still has eight arms to pound you on the slithery "Capillarian Crest," the shredder ending totally Kill 'em All-era Metallica. "Circle of Cysquatch" will be the one that kills live, all charging double-axe attack and Troy Sanders/Brent Hinds growls, which have both gotten considerably better since 2004's Leviathan. "Crystal Skull," featuring vocals by Neurosis' Scott Kelly, will pummel live, as well. It's the prescribed Mastodon dose of doomed guitar and melodic release. There's even the thrash punk blast "Bladecatcher" as a midpoint head-scratcher. Blood Mountain is a big slab to grab, especially shakier bits such as Josh Homme stinking up "Colony of Birchmen." Yet once "Siberian Divide" comes into view and hell breaks loose ("Solar storms erupt on the sun/Ice fields blanket land"), it's a spectacular view.

***

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