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April 2020

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

★★★★
Mastodon - Emperor of Sand
Published: 8:00 pm, March 30, 2017
[vc_row css=".vc_custom_1429970155018{margin-bottom: 25px !important;border-bottom-width: 5px !important;border-bottom-color: #0a0a0a !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;}"][vc_column width="1/4" css=".vc_custom_1429970165982{margin-bottom: 25px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="39438" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4" css=".vc_custom_1429970174266{margin-bottom: 25px !important;}"][vc_column_text]Life is certainly a lot better with Mastodon back in it.

Label: Reprise
Released: 31st March 2017

Rating: ★★★★[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]"Time is a very big theme of the album," Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor told the media late last year about his band’s seventh record ‘Emperor of Sand’. "How much time do we have left? What are we doing with our time?"

Judging by the rollercoaster, return-to-form bombast dripping from the record, it’s pretty clear that the Atlanta quartet have been spending their time rather wisely.

Good job then, because they had big expectations. The band shot to prominence in 2004 with their sophomore effort ‘Leviathan’, which juggled instantly recognisable riffs as sludgy as a Glastonbury mudslide with rollicking adventurism, before ramping up the prog tricks on ‘Crack The Skye’ five years later.

The following ‘The Hunter’, and their last effort ‘Once More 'Round the Sun’, saw Mastodon veer into new realms; the mucky melee of yore was drying up in favour of more polished vocals and concise structures.

On ‘Emperor of Sand’’s eleven tracks, however, there’s truly something for everyone. Opener ‘Sultan’s Curse’ is an apt choice for starters, with a swinging riff catapulting the listener headfirst towards oblivion, but the crisp and concise ‘Show Yourself’ is more dainty than dirt as it drops devious earworms all over the shop, although it feels a little trite.

Then there’s ‘Clandestiny’, one of the most potent Mastodon tracks in years, with the tune acting as a microcosm of what makes the band just so vital; there’s heaviness, a haunting aura, the searing melody.

Mastodon aren’t ones to shy away from going conceptual, and at the crux of the album is an allegory of someone going through cancer. By the time the kaleidoscopic finale ‘Jaguar God’ enters the fray, it feels like the issue of mortality is tangible. But when the eight minutes clue up, one thing becomes clear: life is certainly a lot better with Mastodon back in it. Chris Cope[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1429970289830{margin-top: 25px !important;margin-bottom: 25px !important;}"][vc_column][vc_video link="
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