SXSW Friday Record Reviews

Mastodon

Emperor of Sand (Reprise)

SXSW Friday Record Reviews

On their seventh LP, Emperor of Sand, Atlanta metal quartet Mastodon drops the commercial pretenses that alienated fans on The Hunter and Once More 'Round the Sun, returning to the progressive tumult of 2009's Crack the Skye and its producer, Brendan O'Brien. "Sultan's Curse" swings menacingly with signature percussive riffs, militaristic drumming, and Troy Sanders' sandpaper-y roar, while "Scorpion Breath" thrashes with caustic death growls not heard since "The Wolf Is Loose." Converts of the group's mainstream exploits needn't fear: "Show Yourself" grooves on an indelible vocal hook, and grunge stomper "Steambreather" recalls another O'Brien collaborator, Stone Temple Pilots. (Fri. 17, Empire Control Room, 12mid)

****

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