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Album Review: Once More ‘Round The Sun by Mastodon

Progressive Metal titans Mastodon have returned with their sixth studio album ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’. It’s an opus, clocking in at just under an hour, each track sounds expansive, continually searching for new ground. The most remarkable trait of ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’ is the stunning hooks.

With 2011’s ‘The Hunter’ Mastodon explored a more progressive side of metal, introducing pop like hooks and creating an unrestrained sound. This change is built upon in ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’. While the crushing riffs and monstrous vocal are still there, the song writing is on another level.

Take the chorus from opening track ‘Tread Lightly’ as example, deliciously instantaneous – it’ll ingrain itself deep inside your head. ‘The Motherload’ marries a brilliant hook with a fantastic solo. Early evidence points towards a superb metal album and those assumptions are confirmed with lead single ‘High Road’. Crushing riffs from start to finish – they end up turning the track into a disturbingly melodic yet brutal masterpiece.

This trend is carried on throughout the album, each of the eleven tracks on display here are superb. This is metal music at its finest. As a genre mainstream heavy metal is pretty tired and staid. Commonly you’ll find the scene dominated by a string of ‘legendary’ feeding of their status slowly and surely becoming a parody of themselves, couple those acts with young fame hungry bands more preoccupied with style and applying eye liner than creating good music. As such it’s a genre that often gets mocked. It would be an injustice to label Mastodon as heavy metal; they’re so much more than that. Expansive and crushing, sonically superb and an unbelievable knack for writing a fantastic hook, ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’ is the metal album of 2014.

Ironically the title track is the closest thing to anything from The Hunter, while ‘Chimes At Midnight’ is huge sounding and ‘Asleep In The Deep’ sounds like the bands rare quiet moments taken up another notch. Slow paced and intricate you’ll notice the track soaring and swooping – outstanding stuff. The frantic riffing on ‘Feast Your Eyes’ is superb. ‘Diamond In The Witch House’ is as fine an album closer as you’ll find all year. Grand and unreserved the track sweeps through a host of hard rock styles, never fixing on one for more than a minute. Crushing yet euphoric.

‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’ is beyond doubt the best metal album released so far this year.

AD Rating 9/10

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Alt Dialogue’s Top 50 Albums of 2014 | Alt Dialogue
  2. Album Review: Emperor of Sand by Mastodon – Alt Dialogue

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