A horrible hack



Year Released: 2003
Format: CD
Label: Relapse
Reviewed by Kunal Nandi on Jun 13, 2007
"Mastodon" is a fucking great band name. It also fits this band like a velvet glove.

This one popped up on a number of Collective writers' best-of-2002 lists, including my own, and with damn good reason. After a couple of EP's that already delivered "the rock" by the bucketload, along comes this truly amazing record. Great big, heavy, technical, dirty riffola mingled with a totally unabashed love of "proper" old-skool metal and a fearless willingness to experiment with structure, sound, melody, everything!

For example, "Crusher Destroyer" crushes and destroys, like it says on the tin, managing to cram in everything that is great about cutting-edge metal music in two minutes flat. The following ten ditties run the gamut from slow to fast, from soothing to brain-melting. There are plenty of weird and unsettling medieval, military, animalistic and prehistoric overtones, (check the song-titles - "Trilobite", "Workhorse", "Trampled Under Hoof") echoed by the art - a Constable-esque painting of a horse, except with the cheerful addition of its guts being ripped-out - as well as excellent, oblique lyrics, all hearkening back to the good ol' days (of history? of unabashed hair-metal?). Obviously I'm over-analysing in an effort to make myself look clever, cos this is straight-up (but not too straight-up) fucking good fun heavy metal.

One word about the drummer - the guy is absolutely stunning. It's Brann Dailor, whose work you may have heard on 'Today Is The Day''s "In The Eyes Of God" (which incidentally also featured Mastodon's guitarist Bill Kelliher). A mix of Dave "Discordance Axis" Witte's insane speed with Will "Keelhaul" Scharf's fluidly organic style, Dailor really is the backbone of this enormous beast. A beast that is enormous, but never lumbering.

I'm salivating over the forthcoming European tour (with High On Fire - yikes!), partly because I want a t-shirt that says "MASTODON" on it, but mostly because they will make wanton destruction fun again.

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