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Album Reviews : Mastodon – Emperor of Sand

By on April 30, 2017

Mastodon are one of those bands that I know are very, very good. They have a large and very devoted following, because they write strong, powerful, meaningful songs and their musicianship is excellent, especially Brann Dailor’s ultra-busy, precise, nimble-handed skinwork. They have just never grabbed me by the proverbial katangas.

Maybe it’s because their sound kinda lives up to their name: it’s huge, ferocious and scary, but a little primitive, hearkening back to a bygone era. And this new album, their seventh, carries on that tradition.

Which is to say that, if you are one of the many who dig this band, you will love the shit out of Emperor of Sand. It is choc-full of excellent songs, great moments and definitive Mastodon-isms, the things that endear them to their fans so much. That is, the prog-tinged take on the stoner rock genre, the super-charged blues-based riffs, the percussive dynamism of Dailor and of course, Troy Sanders’ rough-hewn but sweet vocals.

Top song awards go to the pummelling but soaring Roots Remain, which also features some sweet ambient moments that are a joy to the ear, and the tough-as-nails freight train that is Clandestiny.

Closer Jaguar God is an epic, dynamic eight minute journey as well. It builds beautifully from quiet, atmospheric beginnings to one of the most savage, frenetic cuts on the album. It winds things up in beautiful style.

So no, this album is not for me, but don’t my little opinion stop you if you love this band. Emperor of Sand is still a Mastodon fan’s wet dream.

Band: Mastodon
Album: Emperor of Sand
Year: 2017
Genre: Stoner Rock
Label: Reprise Records / Cooking Vinyl Australia
Origin: USA


Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine,, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.