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Mastodon Leviathan

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01. Blood And Thunder MP3 02. I Am Ahab 03. Seabeast 04. Island 05. Iron Tusk 06. Megalodon 07. Naked Born 08. Aqua Dementia 09. Hearts Alive 10. Joseph Merrick
2004 Relapse Records
Our score 7

by Cory
8/18/2004

For many metal fans, Mastodon's Leviathan has been the most anticipated album of the summer, if not the entire year. Their debut full-length, Remission, earned them both critical acclaim and a rabid fanbase, but the end result of both these things is high expectations. The band had set the bar unusually high for themselves and most of their fans, myself included, were expecting to be blown away by Leviathan. While it might not seem particularly fair to call an album this enjoyable a disappointment, "Leviathan" isn't as immediately impressive and enthralling as the band's previous effort. This concept album, based on Herman Melville's "Moby Dick," is certainly a powerful display of musicianship and talent, but seems to lack the focus of Remission. The first two things that happen on the disc's opening cut "Blood and Thunder" give a pretty good indication of what's to come: A fairly predictable guitar riff and the first of a few thousand Brann Dailor drum fills. The song is arguably one of the disc's best, thanks in part to the dual riff mid-song that manages to sound every so slightly like the intro to Prince's "When Doves Cry." The dirty sort of charm that helped define their previous records is scarce here, replaced instead with a slightly cleaner overall sound. There are definitely still sludgy songs and moments, but overall, Matt Bayles seems to have adjusted the production to the band's new attempted styles. The most interesting aspect of this record is that some of the songs, due to their time signatures or pace ("I Am Ahab" is a prime example) have a certain feel to them that reminds one of old sea shanties and immediately call to mind years of sailing the oceans and experiencing the elements at their harshest. The emulated sound of waves at the beginning of "Hearts Alive" is a great atmospheric touch that a lesser band certainly wouldn't have thought of. There are moments of sheer brilliance on this record but they are far fewer than I might have hoped for. While I've tiptoed around certain things that I didn't care for or particularly think worked, I have to come right out and say that my biggest complaint about this record are the many points at which some or all of the parts of a song sound exactly like someone else. The vocals of "Seabeast" immediately call to mind Ozzy Osbourne in his Black Sabbath heydays, and some of the instrumentation reminds me of Helmet or Unsane. A good portion of "Iron Tusk" sounds like it could've been written by Lamb Of God and many of the other tracks have a decidedly Swedish influence that didn't seem as apparent on Lifesblood or Remission. Even the disc's most ambitious and indulgent track calls to mind Isis and Neurosis. While these bands' appeal is their disregard for convention in song form, it seems less sincere coming at the end of this meticulously structured record. Leviathan ends up sounding like the musical equivalent of a kid playing dress-up: trying everything on just to see how it fits. They even have a slow, instrumental to close the disc with a flanged guitar riff that sounds like Soundgarden. Bottom Line: Let me make myself clear -- this is a very good record. It is the third in a string of fine releases from this incredibly talented band. Kudos to the band for wanting to experiment with different influences within their own unique style. Unfortunately, this desire for change was also one of the disc's major downfalls. Growth is an important part of any musician or artist's life, but to change for the sake of changing seems almost as frustrating. While the music itself doesn't suffer for it, it doesn't seem like the band has gotten as comfortable with any new sound or style as they were on their previous album. Leviathan is without a doubt a beast of a record, but for all its good points it is definitely not the powerhouse follow-up that I personally was expecting.

Comments (37) post new comment
demonbarf_ 8/18/2004 4:33:20 PM

first post suckas!


Ash_ 8/18/2004 4:39:00 PM

Cory, would it go too far to call this Mastodon's attempted prog album? Or is it as simple as they just haven't found what they're searching for?


Cory_ 8/18/2004 4:46:08 PM

It would be fair to call this the Mastodon record I won't be listening to that much.


Ken Wregget_ 8/18/2004 6:43:10 PM

Oh SNAP!


Ohhhhh_ 8/18/2004 9:25:52 PM

I pretty much agree with this review, I know some other sites gave this record ridiculously good reviews. It's definately good, but it's not that amazing.


yeast_infection_ 8/19/2004 1:33:21 AM

I have to agree with the reviewer full hearted. Remission is a hard act to follow. While there are many great moments on Leviathan, I'm sure many will be a bit disappointed, only due to the anticipation. My favorite tracks are Hearts Alive, a very long opus that travels high and low; Iron Tusk cause the riffing is true to Mastodon's signature; and I Am Ahab, again. Some of the lyrics that I can make out right away almost kill the moment for me too. the disc opens with a very clear, "I think


jwcp_ 8/19/2004 1:41:04 AM

corey wins!


jwcp_ 8/19/2004 1:41:22 AM

cory wins!


horseheadxbookends_ 8/19/2004 9:16:08 AM

WOW!! way to go against the grain man...you are so kewwwwwwwll!!


RabidMastoFan_ 8/19/2004 10:09:21 AM

I think, for the most part, Cory hit the nail on the head with this review. This album is better than just about anything out there, but if you hold it up to the standard set by Remission, it falls short. I had heard that this record was going to be more of a "rock" record, but I don't hear it. I heard that there was going to be a lot more "singing", but I don't hear that either. What I do hear is a more straight forward Mastodon, simplified to the point of almost losing the nuances that made th


The REAL Bob Rock_ 8/19/2004 11:15:33 AM

You know, being a rabid fan of Mastodon, I read this and almost spat my cereal at the monitor in fury of this PRICK who DARED to CUSS my FAVOURITE band. Yeah. OH!!!!!! MAN!!!!!!!! I'VE POO'ED MYSELF!!!!!!!!! But, reading it over a few times... Cory, you hit the nail on the head. Well done for an excellent and unbiased review. These are my exact thoughts on the album, but I just couldn't articulate them well enough in my head. I shall send you a free piece of fruit. Mayhaps, a PLUM!!!!!!


HolyGhostOfAbraham_ 8/19/2004 2:22:08 PM

good job pointing out how everything sounds like something else. There's a riff in "megalodon" that sounds exactly like a riff in metallica's welcome home sanitarium


canwestartagain_ 8/19/2004 4:24:26 PM

i agree with this review, nothing more than a 7


Adam Hellbound_ 8/19/2004 4:37:25 PM

My bro Cory did an awesome job with this review. It's not the review I would have written -- I love the album and think it's the best thing they've done so far -- but you can really tell that Cory was just telling it how he saw it, without glossing over anything. Excellent, well-written, unbiased review.


homesic_ 8/20/2004 9:48:49 PM

You must have ridiculously high standards if you think that this is a mediocre album. But hey it's your opinion.


blahelkas;dj_ 8/22/2004 1:11:42 PM

wheres all the correct posts? I mean the ones telling him that his review TOTALLY f*ckING BLEW GOAT jerk?~??!?!?!??~?~?~?!?~!?!~?!~!~?? Nice job editing all hte posts


nooltang_ 8/22/2004 10:05:59 PM

lol Iron Tusk doesnt sound anything like Lamb of God. Swedish influence?? I think this record is a gigantic step up for Mastodon, it isnt as raw as Remission and is also a whole lot smarter. I would take any song off Leviathan over any song off Remission. I'm not sure why some people don't see that. I'm also confused as to why every response on here agrees with the writer.


anonymous 8/23/2004 10:28:52 AM

because cory is popular and everyone loves what he says whether its correct or not


bizzle_ 8/23/2004 10:38:51 PM

this album is really bad- avoid at all cost!


jwcp_ 8/24/2004 11:28:37 AM

because cory is popular and everyone loves what he says whether its correct or not posted by () on 8/23/2004 10:28:52 AM no it's because this album is mastodon's weakest effort


Hardware_ 8/25/2004 11:47:48 AM

Opinions are like jerks, everyone has em. Mine is that this band is overated. From the songs I heard I wouldn't give it more than a 7. I wouldn't give it a 7 because I'm not into it at all, but that's not the bands problem. Doing what they are doing I think a 7 is totally fair. This band is overrated.


jesussandwich_ 8/26/2004 12:15:48 PM

over rated? Man, you guys are f*ckin crazy. I've listened to it 6 times this morning since getting it, and it owns me. It's funny how when a band starts getting popular all the "too cool" people need to distance themselves from band, and be "non conformists". I listened, I loved it, and I disagree with Cory, so f*ck off.


rob awesome_ 8/26/2004 2:20:23 PM

this album is fantastic. quick breaking shit down, and just enjoy it.


DANLICKGOLDENSHOWER_ 8/28/2004 4:34:38 PM

This Album is honestly the best album of the last 10 years and next 10 years. These guys have all been in ear bleed technical bands. They are probably just trying to make something a little more rockish. The concept is genius. The art work is genius the music is genius. The southern sounding guitar work is humorous enough to remind us that it is just a fun CD. Its funny, people complain about the over played drums, but then complain about the predictable guitar work. INTERNET IS FOR gayS LIKE


Tony_ 8/31/2004 9:58:09 PM

I f*cking love this album. I had it download, bought the vinyl, and today bought the cd for the DVD tracks. Battle At Sea RULES. that should have been recorded. This album is so good. I think it is equal ot remission. I can see how people think this band is overrated, probably because it simply isn;t their thing. Much like I think any tough guy shit is trash. Terror, now there is overrated people. my god.


xjustinx_ 9/1/2004 2:59:43 AM

this might not be all that you expected, but it's way better than most of the shit that people worship. yeah thats pretty much it, this cd rules and it has guest vocals from clutch.


FlexYoFace Chase_ 9/1/2004 4:44:00 AM

This album kicks ass, i would have given it an 8.5/10 but then again I give Remission a 9/10.. This album is definitely not as bad or disappointing as Cory makes it sound. To me, Remission had a little more direction, and had a lot more memerable parts, such as catchy riffs, and really f*cking cool progressions.. The new album is lacking slightly in the "direction" area.. i know it's a concept album, but i think the overall cohesivness of the album slightly lacked when compaired to Remission; wh


Lukecubed_ 9/8/2004 6:07:53 PM

Album of the year thus far. This record stands head and shoulders above Remission (of which I was a huge fan) the same way Oceanic stood head and shoulders above Celestial. Yeah, it's a little less heavy/mopy but it's also a little less mopy. Instead of making their already intelligent, over-the-top assault even more calculated and over the top (a la Miss Machine) they've refined it and smoothed out the edges. High expectations be damned, this album blew me away like no album since - well, s


Beaker_ 9/9/2004 3:55:36 PM

I'm Not Sure, maybe this one needs to grow on me... This is the first release where I havent seen the songs played live first. Still the best album so far this year! I can't wait for the new ISIS!...


Zane_ 9/14/2004 12:58:05 PM

Interesting - I was blown away by this album. Remission was great, but for some reason I just didn't listen to it that often. On Leviathan, I think Mastodon fit riffs and passages together beautifully, and I think that's what was missing on Remission. So to see this many naysayers in the comments, and the relatively low 7/10... hmmm. I suppose I'll have to see if I've just overblown my initial reaction, but I was expecting a 9/10. And oh yea, NEW ISIS ALMOST HERE! WOO-HOO!


Captain_Comic_ 10/6/2004 9:12:31 AM

This band blows rear.


bennett_ 12/28/2004 10:42:18 AM

you guys suck. cory you suck. this album is awesome. get some taste.


Mike_ 4/28/2005 3:41:23 PM

Mastadon sucks. I hate them. They aren't even good live. There is nothing good about this band. In fact, most of their "songs" consist of the 4 members playing what seems to be 4 totally different songs. I wish they weren't popular.


mark_ 5/2/2005 4:05:49 PM

this is a terrible f*cking review. look at this terible sentence: 'The emulated sound of waves at the beginning of "Hearts Alive" is a great atmospheric touch that a lesser band certainly wouldn't have thought of.' pure idiocy. Who would have thought - an album about whaling with ocean sound effects ? And this album IS brilliant. Whoever wrote this review knows pigshit about Moby Dick and what it means. If you would quit waiting to headbang for a few minutes and listen, you might apprec


mitch_ 6/19/2005 11:38:44 AM

If you like Mastodon, check out Thee Plague of Gentlemen. A little more Doomy but every bit as Rockin' Out.


Dirk_ 12/6/2006 10:54:35 PM

Amazing album, amazing musicians, all around great. A 9/10 just because of how much this album feels like you are on the ocean 10/10 because it is the best album of this short century.


cory_ 9/27/2008 5:27:40 PM

im a f*ckin idiot with a dick in my mouth, i am cory. i dont like anything that is popular just because its popular. someone please shoot me.