Mastodon is not quite as hard as many individuals I’ve talked to would have me think. However, this does not mean that they are not intense or brutal, as “The Wolf Is Loose” is the perfect blend of speed metal, sludge rock, and acid rock. This means that the band is flying off the handle even as they call forth acts like Venom, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest. Even during the beginning of the disc, the act is present that Mastodon can modify the individual perception of time. “The Wolf is Loose” may only be three and a half minutes, but the density in which they create this track is so high that individuals can easily mistake it for a five or six minute track.
“Crystal Skull” continues the same depth of composition, and while there are a number of moments here where Mastodon seems as if they are moving to the lighter side of things, there are an equal amount of moments where the band is not afraid in the least to bring the heavy. The guitar work that is done during “Crystal Skull” is without comparison. The solo blends in well to the context of the rest of the track while still standing head and shoulders above anything else previously heard on the disc (and maybe even heard on the disc). “Capillarian Crest” is a track that works on the experimental nature of Mastodon, but there are quite a few moments during this track where the band seems to not be at their capacity. In fact, a few seconds feel as if the band does not know where they are immediately going.
Luckily, the band quickly picks things up and get back on track. The momentary lapse is a good thing for me, as it shows me that Mastodon is a group of humans at the end of the day, and that the accomplishments made on this album are even more amazing when one takes that fact into consideration. “Blood Mountain” shows that Mastodon is an act that is incredibly talented and is not afraid of blending together a number of styles in the creation of their own original approach to music. Not quite thrash, hardcore, or straight metal, Mastodon plays a brand of music that will have poser acts following hot in pursuit if they already have not. For fans of any brand of hard music, “Blood Mountain” is a disc that can be hard and yet easily approachable all at the same time.
Top Tracks: Capillarian Crest, Colony of Birchmen
Mastodon – Blood Mountain / 2006 Reprise / 12 Tracks / http://www.mastodonrocks.com / http://www.repriserecords.com / Reviewed 17 October 2006