Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mastodon - Remission (2002)

Mastodon - Remission (2002)

It's easy to dismiss metal music as just being a loud noise-genre. It's known for being incredibly loud, heavy guitar licks, crazy drums rolls and the yelling singing. This is also the main reason why most metal is, in fact, loud noise. It's hard to tell one band from another, but it's also hard to figure out what the point the song is. Bands are just loud for the sake of being loud and don't really put much more into it than that. That's why when a good metal album comes along like Mastodon's debut, it gives one hope for the genre. That, yes, good metal can exist that isn't just noise.

To break down the album would almost be an insult to the album. That's not to say that there aren't any singles on the album. Far from it. The first two songs alone are some of the most memorable metal songs one will hear in some time. But the songs work better as a whole, one after another, building on the energy and power of the previous song to flow into the next one. Opener "Crusher Destroyer" is a powerful behemoth. What works so well about this song alone, and many of Mastodon's songs, is that it's such a well-constructed song. The guitar licks don't just show off the talents of both guitarists, they are so melodic and play off one another that they could practically go on any indie album or, daresay, classical album. They are pleasing to the ear not just because they sound so incredibly loud and cool, but because they are actually constructed and treated like real music, not noise.

The real star of the band is drummer Brann Dailor. Here is the most intense drumming one will hear in some time. His drumming ties all of the musician's talents together while also taking the main attention of the listener. The singing is good too, it matches the music well and is melodic in a metal sense too, but the drums always grab the attention of the listener. The fills are so intense and well-performed that it begs to be brought attention to, but Dailor isn't trying to detract from the rest of the music. He does the rare job that a drummer does by not just showing off and being incredibly talented, but ultimately adding to the message and emotion of the song as well. It's really something to be heard.

Mastodon's debut bodes well for things to come. It's a breath of fresh air to hear such a heavy album that not only stays true to many of metal's finest, but really adds to the genre in ways never thought possible. It does all of this while just being damn fun to listen to as well. Rock on!

Standout Track: "March of the Fire Ants."
Overall Rating: 8.7

Trivia Time:

* Mastodon: [mas-tuh-don] –noun

A massive, elephant-like mammal of the genus Mammut (Mastodon), that flourished worldwide from the Miocene through the Pleistocene epochs and, in North America, into recent times, having long, curved upper tusks and, in the male, short lower tusks.

* The last song on Mastodon's first 3 albums refers to Elephant Man. The one on this album is aptly titled "Elephant Man."

* Eric Saner was the original singer for the band but quit before this album was recorded. Troy Sanders is now the lead vocalist.

* Video Game Tony Hawk's Underground featured "Crusher Destroyer." Good thing, it was the best of that series.

* At the beginning of the album there is a small sample from the film Jurassic Park. Listen closely to hear the roar of the T-Rex, with Lex screaming out "Timmy!" as they get attacked in the tour car.

* Most of Mastodon's albums are considered concept albums, save for their first one. Sanders has stated that it's about fire, bust only loosely. This is obvious in song titles like "March of the Fire Ants," "Where Doth Behemoth Stride," and "Burning Man."

* Mastodon like their elements a lot. With the theme of fire in mind, thus began each album being about elements in some form. This album's cover features a horse being burned by nuclear holocaust, inspired by a dream that drummer Brann Dailor shared with artist Paul Romano who later created the art based on his dream.

* Guitarist Brent Hinds says he got his style of playing from learning the banjo originally. This results in fast hybrid picking, emulating the banjo style on guitar.

* Rhtyhm guitarist Bill Kelliher is an avid Star Wars enthusiast and father of 2. He named one son Harrison after Harrison Ford.

* Drummer Brann Dailor is obsessed with late guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne Randy Rhoads due to the fact that he was born on the day and month that Randy Rhoads died. His color scheme for his drums is similar to the color scheme Rhoads used on his guitar.

No comments: