Mastodon’s Albums Get Ranked Up!


Mastodon Albums Get Ranked

In terms of heavy music there is one band that stands head and shoulders above the rest; Mastodon. Formed in 2000, the Atlanta, Georgia quartet have elbowed their way to the upper echelon of heavy metal supremacy by combining Yes and King Crimson-like progressive song structures and time signatures with the brutal aggression of early 80’s Slayer and Metallica. Utilizing their considerable individual musical abilities and crafting concept albums on topics as unconventional as the novel Moby Dick, the band has developed a devout following though relentless touring and memorable festival appearances.

Alternative Nation has decided to take a look at their first six albums and see how they rank up.

  1. Remission (2002)


Heavy, punishing and beautiful, Mastodon’s debut album dropped towards the end of the Nu-Metal era. For fans of metal who feared that the genre was to be forever tainted by the Limp Bizkit’s and Orgy’s of the world, Mastodon proved that the future of metal was secure. The band’s use of harsh and often screamed vocals combined with atypical time signatures and heavily down tuned guitars ushered in a new era of metal. Debuting a sound unlike any other band of the time, Remission set the marker that Mastodon would consistently beat with every future release.

Key Track: March of The Fire Ants

  1. The Hunter (2011)

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For their fifth album, Mastodon looked to switch up the formula without straying too far from home. With no lengthy concept or unifying theme throughout the album, Mastodon produced an album full of solid tracks. The album feels more scattered than previous releases. While not necessarily a bad thing, it can, at times, feel less engaging than on some of their other albums. Punishingly heavy at times, while continuing their incorporation of progressive influenced themes. Tracks like “Blasteroid” and “Dry Bone Valley” showed the band stretching their sonic wings while still delivering what they do best.

Key Track: Curl Of The Burl

  1. Once More ‘Round the Sun (2014)

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Once More ‘Round the Sun, the band’s sixth album sees the band at their most progressive sounding. With less harsh vocals, the emphasis on singing mixed with the progressive sound actually aids the band in forging into new territory. The difference between this and The Hunter is that on this album, they sound more comfortable and in control of their evolving sound. The tracks flow together and the sequencing of the album seems more coherent as it is able to sustain the listener’s interest throughout whilst maintaining its unpredictability. With this album, Mastodon have set themselves up to advance their sound in any manner they see fit.

Key Track: Ember City

  1. Blood Mountain (2006)

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Lyrically and conceptually, Blood Mountain is a trip. The story follows a man’s journey to the top of Blood Mountain while searching for a crystal skull to achieve the next step of human evolution. (Still with me?). Musically, this album showcases a band at the very height of their craft. Mastodon’s most accomplished musical effort, the frenetic drumming of Brann Dailor sets the stage for the band’s most combative, belligerent, and in-your-face album. Featuring a guest vocal appearance from Queens of the Stone Age main man Josh Homme on the album’s lead single, “Colony of Birchmen”, it was with Blood Mountain that Mastodon were able to scale their way to the top of the metal mountain.

Key Track: Capillarian Crest

2 Crack the Skye (2009)

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Crack the Skye marks the first time Mastodon really pushed the progressive envelope and mixed it perfectly with their distinctive heavy metal stylings. The album’s opener, “Oblivion” wastes no time in making this notion a reality. For the first time, drummer Brann Dailor takes on lead vocals in addition to Bassist Troy Sanders and Lead Guitarist Brent Hinds. Whereas Sanders and Hinds had dominated vocally with a mix of screaming and harsh vocals, Dailor’s first vocal performance comes off sounding like Yes or even early Genesis. This sets the mood for the band trippiest album. The bands best “guitar” album, Hinds and fellow guitarist Bill Kelliher spend equal time playing off each other as they do playing against each other, all while pushing the bar of innovative musicianship that the band had previously set.

Key Track: Oblivion

  1. Leviathan (2004)

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Mastodon could produce another twenty albums without any of them reaching the heights of Leviathan. That’s not to say the band is not capable of writing amazing material, it is because this album is that great. From the opening riff of “Blood and Thunder” to album closer “Joseph Merrick” Mastodon crushes on this album. Aggressive, unrelenting and brutal, Mastodon opened up new melodic doors without sacrificing any of their punch. Above all else, the album is based on the novel Moby Dick. The juxtaposition of the best metal band in the business choosing of all novels, Moby Dick to base this work upon is absolutely fascinating. It shouldn’t work as well as it does but it works to perfection. At a time when heavy metal’s white whale was finding their new kings, Mastodon took the throne with an album about the white whale!

Key Track: Seabeast