AlbumsNovember 29, 201123,849 views

Mastodon Remission

01. Crusher Destroyer 02. March Of The Fire Ants 03. Where Strides The Behemoth 04. Workhorse 05. Ol'e Nessie 06. Burning Man 07. Trainwreck 08. Trampled Under Hoof 09. Trilobite 10. Mother Puncher 11. Elephant Man
2002 Relapse Records
Our score 9


Rock 'n roll's saving grace has arrived, and its name is Mastodon. If you haven't heard the hype, or the unit's "Lifesblood" EP already, prepare yourself for an excellent listening experience. Combining gritty, Southern-sounding rock with a touch of blues, metal, and hardcore, Mastodon seamlessly integrates these musical styles and creates something new and refreshing. Track one is aptly titled "Crusher Destroyer," as Mastodon throttles you with heavy repetitive riffing and its "in your face" attitude. Some blues lines are thrown in to add to the rock. The drumming is just ridiculous - technical and relentless. "March of the Fire Ants" has a mid-paced tempo, but still retains the band's overall intensity. There's an excellent melodic guitar riff in here, as it's repeated, but varied in terms of delivery, with combinations of palm-muting, finger picking, and harmonization. "Where Strides The Behemoth" and "Workhorse" are amalgams of punishing riffs, big guitar leads, and more fantastic percussion. "Ol'e Nessie" shows the softer side of Mastodon throughout it's intro and outro. Even more melodic than usual, both segments use a combination of clean electric and acoustic guitars (strums, finger picking) accompanied by drum and bass. The actual "body" of the track reverts back to Mastodon's hefty ways, but not as complicated as the some of the aforementioned tracks, with the use of straightforward chords and octaves. "Burning Man" kicks off with some blistering guitar and drums. It's really impressive hearing how tightly and quickly the band blows through this track, without giving up any heaviness. Again, the drums are constantly flowing with complex fills. A sample of voices and trains leads into "Trainwreck," which opens with clean, calm guitar picking and harmonization. The whole band enters after a few measures, which is then followed by a clean break, and then by punishing distortion. This song is notably slower and less aggressive than a few of the others, but seems to grow in intensity as it reaches the end. "Trampled Under Hoof" (does anyone remember Led Zeppelin's "Trampled Under Foot") shows evidence of the band's ability to perform with odd time signatures, both rhythmically and with guitar riffs. The music is quite chaotic, and even "math-metalish," but always retains Mastodon's ferocity when supported by the vocals and rhythm section. "Trilobite" seesaws between harshness and minor-sounding calmness, while "Mother Puncher" delivers balls-out, guitar-driven rock with great harmonization and crunch. The album closes with "Elephant Man" a serene instrumental that features an excellent blues-style solo towards the end of the track. The production of the album is fine, as it's smooth enough, but still demonstrates the band's raw and gritty feel. The guitars and drums particularly stand out in the mix. My only complaint would be with the vocals. At times they sound a bit distorted or muddy. In terms of musicianship, it's top-notch on this record. The music can range from straightforward to complex, but the band always preserves its tight and pummeling ways. Again, the guitars and percussion excel. The drum work really just destroys - it's so intricate and constantly moving that it blows me away every time I listen to this record. The layout of the record is pretty interesting. It features paintings, sketches, and pictures of various images against a dark or deep blue backdrop, while trimmed with gold. Honestly, I can't tell if there is an underlying theme or statement, but the artwork fits with the band and its music. Don't ask me how. It just does. Bottom Line: Mastodon is able to take the best elements of various genres of music and create something refreshingly new and original. The musicianship is outstanding and the music rocks, making this effort probably one of the top albums to be released this year. All fans of "extreme" music should take the time to give this record a chance, because it delivers on all levels. If it were up to me, "Remission" would be required listening for everyone.


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Ryan fash_ 9/12/2006 1:44:52 PM

Good review... even better album... saving grace alrite

fvckyouyoufvckingfvck_ 8/14/2007 4:09:06 PM

absolutely amazing album. Trainwreck is my favorite track.