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Blast From The Past: Mastodon – Leviathan

Mastodon are one of the most important bands of the 21st century, on record and as a live act (read my review of them at Sonisphere here). Their albums are all unique to each other, yet they all distinctly have the Mastodon sound. They are a band that have inspired countless waves of younger metal bands and are loved by fans of all genres. The Leviathan album is a concept album about Herman Melville’s epic novel ‘Moby Dick’, as well as running with the theme of water as an elemental force. Other Mastodon albums are also themed on the elements, Remission tackled fire, Blood Mountain dealt with earth and Crack the Skye was about aether. Leviathan is celebrating its 10 year anniversary on the 31st August and it still feels fresh and exciting, no wonder Terrorizer magazine named it the best extreme album of the decade. With the 10th anniversary looming, it was time to revisit a modern classic.

The album opens with one of the best songs of the oos, ‘Blood and Thunder’, also known as Mastodon’s party hit. It’s called this because it’s an incredibly contagious sing a long, the chant of “White Whale! Holy Grail!” will be sung by metalheads for years to come. If I was asked to pick a top 10 list of songs from the 00s it would definitely be present. One of Leviathan‘s successes is that all of the album’s singles are different and have different styles to them. ‘Blood and Thunder’ is an anthem; ‘Iron Tusk’ is a masterpiece fusion of groove and sludge; ‘I Am Ahab’ and ‘Seabeast’ on the other hand are from the more progressive side of Mastodon. All these different melds could possibly be why Leviathan is an appealing album to so many metalheads, there’s something for everyone. Songs like ‘Megalodon’ and ‘Island’ (which was featured in Pixar’s Monsters University, clip here) are fast and brutal. One of the best moments comes from ‘Megalodon’ which has a perfect calm before the storm moment with a sweet little country riff before chaos breaks out. Even though the songs on Leviathan are typically shorter and punchier than that of predecessor Remission, the band still stick with their epic prog with the 13 minute and 39 second track ‘Hearts Alive’, a fine display of musicianship. Album closer ‘Joseph Merrick’ is an odd experimental track, but one that weirdly fits with the album, closing an epic voyage.

If Leviathan does not go down in the history books, something has gone wrong. A near flawless album by an incredible band.

Mastodon - Leviathan

Leviathan Tracklist:
1. Blood & Thunder
2. I Am Ahab
3. Seabeast
4. Island
5. Iron Tusk
6. Megalodon
7. Naked Burn
8. Aqua Dementia
9. Hearts Alive
10. Joseph Merrick

Mastodon Water Band Photo

Mastodon on Leviathan are:
Troy Sanders – bass, vocals
Brent Hinds – guitar, vocals
Bill Kelliher – guitar, backing vocals
Brann Dailor – drums

The band recently released their sixth album Once More ‘Round The Sun (reviewed here). They will also tour the UK in November and December, details are here.

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Jack
About Jack (793 Articles)
I am a recent graduate from the University of Essex in Colchester where by the luck of Odin I met the editor, Dom. I first got into metal when I was 13 and now I am 22 and own an uncountable amount of band T-shirts. I also regularly attend gigs (local and in neighbouring areas) as well as festivals. My musical taste is varied; I like nu metal (my first love), thrash, black, death, doom, folk, sludge (my favourite genre), symphonic and many more of the multiple genres that metal has to offer, I even like some metalcore (I know it's a dirty word within some metal circles but some of it is outstanding). One of my most memorable metal moments was meeting Grand Magus at the Bloodstock signing tent and having the whole tent to myself, spending a few minutes talking to them.

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