Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand

Bias Disclaimer: I believe that Mastodon has never released a bad album. In fact, possibly never a bad track. You’re free to disagree (you probably will), but for me, they just can’t miss.

MASTODON!  \m/  \m/

Knowledge Disclaimer: Yes, I own all of their albums. I’ve even seen them in concert… twice! This by no means makes me an expert, but given how often they get played around here, I’d say it all makes me a bit of a fan.

MASTODON!  \m/  \m/

 

Emperor Of Sand Review:

Sprawling in scope, massive in its vision, and with absolutely crushing riffage and intricately technical playing throughout, Emperor Of Sand nails it.

Brendan O’Brien has produced this disc with great sound, giving the songs space to breathe and pulse and growl menacingly. And what songs! The energy, the lurking melodic hugeness of it all is here in glorious spades.

Reading up on it, this record is a concept album about time, and our own mortality (Wiki):

“The concept and story in Emperor of Sand follows a desert wanderer who has been handed a death sentence. Themes of death and survival are woven into the song’s lyrics, which were inspired by experiences members of the band had when family and friends were recently diagnosed with cancer.

“At the end of the story, the person simultaneously dies and is saved,” (drummer Brann) Dailor said. “It’s about going through cancer, going through chemotherapy and all the things associated with that. I didn’t want to be literal about it. But it’s all in there. You can read between the lines.”

“We’re reflecting on mortality,” bassist and vocalist Troy Sanders said in a statement. “To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It’s 17 years in the making, but it’s also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives.”

If you’re at all conversant with the Mastodon discography, you’ll hear little bits of everything from the sounds of their previous albums in here. Parallels to their hugely successful (and stunningly awesome) Crack The Skye album are not unwarranted. That said, they are still moving forward too, relentlessly searching and trying and becoming.

It’s not gonna win over people who previously disliked them. In fact, detractors are saying this one is boring, like the band was doing a paint-by-numbers Mastodon sound thing, while also using warmed-over 90s alt-rock clichés. I read some saying the best Mastodon was ten years ago (or more) and this is crap their old selves would never have allowed on a record. But remember, these are the same gits who want bands to remake the same record (which they personally love) over and over again. Change, growth, exploration? BAD. Comfortable and predictable? GOOD. Silliness.

In Sum:

Fuck yes, this owns. Mastodon remains one of metal’s most interesting, talented and original bands. No one else sounds like them, nor should anyone even try.

This record was released last Friday, and I’ve been all the way through it all three times, now. I love it. GET YOU SOME!

MASTODON!  \m/  \m/

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Posted on April 7, 2017, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. I’ve gotta say, Mastodon is a band I’ve never liked.
    But after reading that I think they deserve another spin.

    Like

  2. Been reading a lot of good stuff. I thought maybe I had enough Mastodon, maybe not. We’ll see when I give it a spin.

    Like

  3. Sort of like how ROLLINS must be caps-locked, MASTADON must be accompanied with the horns!
    I like that advice: nobody should try to replicate their sound, they’re one-of-a-kind

    Like

  4. I have only just been getting in to them and they are from my hometown of Atlanta. Shame on me for coming around so late in the game.

    Like

  5. I’ll give this one a listen, though my expectations are pretty low. But I’m not a big fan or anything… I don’t want them to rehash their old sound, I just want good music (which I don’t think is too much to ask for).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice review mate. Count your lucky stars I got here before Reuben, he’d gush over this more than you did! I’m just getting myself into Mastodon and I love Leviathan, so I’ve got this tucked away waiting for a listen.
    Milo.

    Like

  7. Pretty much what J said… got it lined up for a proper listen but there’s too much stuff that I’m genuinely excited about competing for my time at the moment. I’ll get to it eventually!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be curious to hear what you think. As I said in the post, it ain’t gonna win over people who aren’t already fans, but if you go along for the ride of the concept here, the riffs will be satisfyingly crushing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reubydoobs be here. I must say, this is a mighty fine review, nice work. I got this CD last Saturday and I’ve listened to it in full seven times, but I’ve gone through tracks 4-9 a few more times, because that section is simply unstoppable – Steambreather, Word to the Wise and Ancient Kingdom are some of my very favourites the band has put up — whether they’ll make it into a top ten songs by them I dunno, but they’re certainly awesome tracks. Screw the haters! This is in their top 3 albums already!
    Reuben

    Like

  9. But yes, I think I’m going to ask this record to marry me.

    Like

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