Mastodon have released their latest album “Once More ‘Round The Sun”. Where there is excitement there is also apprehension. The previous releases have been ever increasingly brilliant but as with all who fly too close to the Sun, will they crash? And when?
“Once More ‘Round The Sun” explores a Mastodon who are still soaring and have plenty room to soar even more. Given the release of the two songs, ‘High Road’ and ‘Chimes at Midnight’ the territory the album appeared to be exploring was one of old school sludge whilst continuing to be an expedition into the dark recesses of Mastodon‘s imagination. No surprises there.
Despite the huge combination of various influences Mastodon bring to the table the album is definitely, to a degree, an extension of “The Hunter”. The Melvins inspired sludge is present, ‘High Road’ being the ultimate striking example. ‘Aunt Lisa’ does however display many of the balanced inputs, the curiously disturbing hybrid picking, Brann‘s softer vocals followed by Brent‘s brutal rasp. The middle section featuring a chant and heavy riffs reminiscent of ‘Creeping Death’ by Metallica. ‘Ember City’ is another song that brings in the pop elements that are making “Once More ‘Round The Sun” so great, this and ‘The Motherload’ are some of the best singles that aren’t singles(yet) around.
All in all it’s another well worked effort from one of heavy metals most beloved. It may not be as progressively intoxicated nor overwhelmingly empowering like “Crack the Skye” or “Blood Mountain” respectively. It’s advancements in the field that was exhibited in “The Hunter” however are even more clear cut and well defined. It is not quite their best release, but it is by no means bad, and my no means less than great. The hype was huge and the anticipation was great, the reception will be like a warm fire in the depths of winter.