Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mastodon - Once More 'round The Sun (2014)

When it comes to the Atlanta band Mastodon, there is only one thing to expect when entering a new album from them. The unexpected. Since its creation in 1999, Mastodon has spoiled us with a massive variety in both musicality and creativity. You never know what the band will throw at you next, which is only one of the things that has helped them gain the fame and reputation that they currently possess.

"Once More 'round The Sun" is album number 6 from the band, and at first, it seems to be a continuation on what the band started in their last album, "The Hunter". A straight forward album that puts its focus on heavy riffs and memorable songs. But the more you listen to the album, the more progressive it seems. And that is what makes "Once More 'round The Sun" so special, progressive and high soaring melodies are mixed with simple memorable choruses. The first single "High Road" is a perfect example of that. The main riff is simple, but effective, and it does not take much effort to learn the chorus, but then we have the solo part that takes the song to a totally different level. It is controlled madness at its best.

The crazy thing is that even if I love "High Road", it is actually one of the weaker songs in the album. Because just like almost every other Mastodon album, the biggest strength with "Once More 'round The Sun" is that all of the songs have a ridiculously high standard. And most of the credit for that goes to the amazing instrumentation by the band, especially the drumming (and some of the singing) by Brann Dailor is exceptionally awesome.

Another strong point with the album is that it shows a big variety in songs, but it still has a red line that makes the album feel like one cohesive piece. "The Motherload" is a very simple, but highly addictive song that could be a potential live favourite, while the title track sounds like a classic Mastodon track mixed with some Rush melodies. Then we have "Chimes At Midnight" that shows the classic Mastodon madness with a main riff that will haunt me for weeks, which I do not mind at all. I also enjoy the nice groove attack that "Halloween" brings, the rapid fire attack from "Tread Lightly" and the calmer moments in "Asleep In The Deep".

Is "Once More 'round The Sun" Mastodon's strongest album up to date? No, it is not, but it is hard to deny that it is another fantastic high quality piece from the band. It may be the band's most commercial album up to date, but that does not mean that the band has sold out themselves. "Once More 'round The Sun" is still Mastodon to the bone and it is a fantastic roller coaster ride for both old and new fans of the band. This album (and its crazy cover art) will definitely be one of the top contenders of "Album of the year" when I summarize 2014 in December.

Songs worthy of recognition: Chimes At Midnight, The Motherload, Once More 'round The Sun, Asleep In The Deep, Halloween

Rating: 9,5/10 High Roads

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