Loosely based on Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick," Atlanta, Georgia's Mastodon have shown their creative and deeply imaginative side once again with the incredible "Leviathan." This is an earlier album of the progressive group that shook the metal industry back in 2004. For those of you who are unfamiliar, each of Mastodons albums have, so far, represented an element. This album represents the element of water.
It kicks off with a heavy dose of violence with the song "Blood And Thunder." Groovy guitar riffs immediately fill the air through the verses. The refrain has tremendous amounts of aggressive vocals that include a unique mixture of yelling and growling. The drum fills are phenomenally performed by Brann Dailor. Loudly distorted guitars surround Troy Sanders' monstrous vocals during the last verse. This is an amazing opening track full of energy and excitement. And no, it doesn't stop there, "I Am Ahab" continues the fast pace, with deafening guitar riffs and vicious drum work. The vocals are violent and mixed with dark emotion. Unfortunately, this magnificent song runs for less than 3 minutes long, leaving you wanting more. Hitting the replay button is a must!
"Seabeast" starts out a little slower with eerie melodic guitars. Things pick up in the verse, with uncontrollable drumming and overwrought vocals. The song ends with stormy guitar riffs chugging away heavily layered with punchy bass. The opening guitars in "Iron Tusk" contain turbulent riffs that will be stuck in your head for days. Harsh vocals enter for the verses and are accompanied by deep bass lines and relentless drumming. The structure of this song is unique as its constantly changing melodic patterns.
One of the most appealing songs on the album is "Naked Burn." Brent Hinds takes over the vocals, singing catchy melodic lyrics throughout. You can hear so much passion in his voice during the refrain. "Aqua Dementia" contains wicked vocals that might make you flinch. The guitars are reckless and groovy all in one, and will probably make you want to dance to its catchiness! However things slow down again with "Hearts Alive" which is one of Mastodons most epic and progressive songs. Running for well over 13 minutes, it starts with the sound of the ocean as soothing guitars and insane drum fills fade in. Dailor is one of the most talented drummers in the metal industry, as you will hear some of his complex fills and snare patterns throughout the song. The structure is truly different as the riffs switch up in tempo and get heavier and softer without notice. Loud yelling vocals start off the verse while demonic clean vocals follow. The guitar work throughout this song is astonishing and at times, hard to keep up with. Considering the lengthiness of the track, its still a song your going want to hear a couple of times in a row to catch every little detail. "Joesph Merrick" is the final track that ends the album on a calm, relaxing note. It is a simple three and a half minute instrumental that gives great imagery to the end of the album.
With every album comes great surprise and amazing results, as Mastodon grows and changes their style each time. "Leviathan" is a well rounded album offering everything from catchy refrains to heavy progression at its best. The album also contains beautiful artwork done by graphic designer Paul Romano. Who would have thought that the element of water could be so metal?
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