Vinyl Vlog 227

Vinyl Vlog 227

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Monday, 12 June 2017
COLUMN

Mastodon

Emperor of Sand

 

There’s a reason why Mastodon is currently one of the biggest metal bands that still matters. They don’t pack in stadiums, I know, but they’re not playing tiny venues either. They’re big enough to play all the late night shows (I’ve seen them on Letterman, Kimmel, and Fallon), and even occasionally do the oddball appearance (remember when they were on the Human Giant show?). Also, they have a sense of humor about themselves. These are all good things, of course, because Mastodon has figured out a way to stay interesting throughout the years. And Emperor of Sand is no different.

 

Known for their thematic albums, Mastodon started off with the elements releasing albums based on fire, water, earth, and wind, and having since moved to more personal themes, Emperor of Sand has them dealing with death and mortality. And as is the case with their previous album, there’s a formula to listening it,

 

Mastodon albums are almost divided into two parts sound-wise. The first half has them treading familiar waters and it’s where you can find their more straightforward songs, with melodic harmonies and (dare I say it) easy listening metal chords. The second half if where all the interesting stuff is happening and where all the experimentation and weird finger-work takes place. So Mastodon albums ease you into it, giving you familiar sounds, making sure you get comfortable before they really shake up your ride. In this sense, it truly pays to let Emperor of Sand grow on you.

 

We’re reviewing the standard edition of the vinyl here, not the colorbook version with pencils. But as always, Mastodon vinyl is very cool, with a double 180g pressing, in a gatefold sleeve with expanded artwork inside.

 

There’s a warm feeling in my stomach when I think of Mastodon’s audience. It’s a wide one, and one that’s getting exposed to some truly edgy and weird stuff. You get both a little of what you and they want at the same time.

 

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