In The Belly of the Beast
When Mastodon’s debut full-length Remission came out in 2002, it was heralded by many as the album that would save metal. It stood out among the sea of nu-metal clones as a return to what metal really stood for: heaviness, technical ability and stellar composition. Mastodon didn’t try to write catchy songs with hooks and recycled riffs; they pushed themselves to the limits of their abilities – and fans took notice. Now with Leviathan, the band hopes to again reach the high water mark their previous effort set for the entire genre.Mastodon take an almost “progressive rock” approach to writing. Each song features an array of melodies, harmonies and rhythms woven around a central thread. Songs don’t try to squeeze into any kind of time or structural limitations – instead each musician in the band takes free reign to explore their instrument in the context of each track. Leviathan takes this concept one step further and implements another common “prog-rock” theme – the concept album. As the title (and album art) imply, the album is about the same struggle immortalized in Moby Dick – man against an unseen near-immortal force.
Leviathan once again features the golden touch of producer Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Blood Brothers). Mastodon also brings a few other friends on board for this venture: Neil Fallon (Clutch) joins in on the opener “Blood and Thunder” and Scott Kelly (Neurosis) adds his trademark growl on the supurb “Aqua Dementia.” The album builds to an amazing climax with the powerfully epic “Hearts Alive” followed by the calm instrumental closer “Joseph Merrick.” Leviathan proves to be another great beast that will devour the unworthy.