For Fans Of
Mastodon have nothing to prove. There are never any prevailing question marks leading into a new release from the respected veterans. It’s just sole and independent anticipation.
Music should be challenging, innovative and from a fundamental perspective, fun. It’s sad that this is lost on most bands. Quality will always succeed generic quantity though. So it’s not about lamenting the poor, instead it’s about embracing the frontrunners…like Mastodon.
‘Once More ‘Round the Sun’ is an “experience”. From the colourful, imposing and incredibly striking album art to the careful composition of the residing tracks, studio album number six is another chapter in what is becoming a diverse career.
If the group’s style followed a linear, upward path early on, somewhere after the psychedelic and extended epic, ‘Crack the Skye’, Mastodon decided to dip their toes into deeper water with ‘The Hunter’.
As a cursory statement, ‘OMRTS’ is essentially more refined than its predecessor. It’s a development sure, but it takes the better bits from ‘The Hunter’ and cuts out all the fluff. While, the 2011-released aforementioned album was solid, small moments let down the otherwise impressive bulk of material. This time, the 11-tracks are more consistent. It really is an album you can listen to from start-to-finish.
It’s initially where the listener is presented with variety. ‘The Motherload’ is one of the most accessible songs the band has ever written, but equally one of the most memorable. ‘Curl of the Burl’ had relatable qualities, but this new track is moving, catchy and quite positive whether intended or not. If the rest of the record failed (thankfully, not the case), this would be the clear silver lining.
With subsequent track ‘High Road’ you can add another classic Mastodon riff to the pre-existing arsenal. The chorus may polarise though. The production is crisp. A sound like this needs to be more measured and refined as opposed to containing that rough around the edges grit.
‘Asleep In the Deep’ almost has a Kvelertak feel to the very beginning. Shows together rubbing off on one another, perhaps? While, the ending of ‘Aunt Lisa’, with its “hey, ho” call and response chants are reminiscent of distinct old-school influences.
It’s not a stretch to claim this album another success. Mastodon have shown early in the career that they are capable of producing heavy and crushing music. Call it “maturity” or simply call it skill, Mastodon now show they can offer incredibly versatile music too.
Where this album ranks among the rest that comprise the Mastodon back catalogue is open to interpretation and personal preference. ‘Once More ‘Round the Sun’ is not that quintessential genre defining type of release. Instead, the appeal lies in a band in their prime not settling for any complacency.
1. Tread Lightly
2. The Motherload
3. High Road
4. Once More ‘Round The Sun
5. Chimes At Midnight
6. Asleep In The Deep
7. Feast Your Eyes
8. Aunt Lisa
9. Ember City
11. Diamond In The Witch House (feat. Scott Kelly)