Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

by Ryan Hagan Rating:8 Release Date:2017-03-31

Eight albums in, Mastodon have proved themselves to be quite skilled at the art of concept albums - and their latest album 'Emperor of Sand', out March 31st via Reprise Records, is certainly no exception.

Mastodon are an American alternative metal band from Atlanta, Georgia and consists of drummer and co-vocalist Brann Dailor, guitarist and co-vocalist Brent Hinds, bassist and co-vocalist Troy Sanders and guitarist Bill Kelliher. Their albums typically feature progressive lyrical themes, and 'Emperor of Sand' continues this with a theme of terminal illness; with Brann Dailor stating that "Emperor of Sand is like the grim reaper" and that "sand represents time". The album also features guest vocal spots from Scott Kelly (Neurosis) and Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth) on the tracks 'Scorpion Breath' and 'Andromeda' respectively.

The album opens with lead single 'Sultan's Curse'. This song effectively sets the mood for the entire album - and it's what you've come to expect from Mastodon. Dirty, beefy guitar riffs teamed up with exceptional drumming and perfectly implemented bass playing. The album has vocals from all three vocalists, with Sanders' and Hinds' powerful gruff vocals serving the perfect compliment to Dailor's smooth, melodic style. The chemistry between the two guitarists is more clear than ever on this album and their playing throughout the entire record is on point. Brann Dailor's performance on this album might be the very best yet too. A personal highpoint on this album for me is the seventh track, 'Ancient Kingdom' - it appears to be the closest the band have ventured towards pop listenability with the bright-sounding guitar solo and choruses. Also, the church bells are awesome.

As far as the lyrical story goes in this album, this is an album you have to hear for yourself to truly understand - the story will resonate with any individual differently and it's definitely something to make an effort to go out and listen to personally. All in all this album is a sharp reminder that even after 17 years as a band, Mastodon are still a definite force to be reckoned with and they're still as sharp as ever.

Check out 'Show Yourself' below.

 

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars
  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Great review Ryan - I think I've finally come to accept that while the Mastodon I love (the band that made Leviathan) is no longer here, what they have turned into isn't so bad either. Another strong release.