I am not going to do a Best of Decade list. I am going to post bands and albums that defined the past 10 years under the heading Decade:Zero. These will be posted throughout the year and decided by using random on itunes and posting when I come across something worth posting.
These Atlanta sludge rockers will probably be the only metal band to have a Decade:Zero post. As I have said many times, I am just getting back into metal. I am being fed great bands, albums and information from those in the know. Most of them are citing bands like Opeth, Dark Tranquility and Lamb of God as those who held it down for the past decade, and I am sure they are correct. I just don’t have the knowledge to write about those bands and they had nothing to do with my decade. Mastodon did though. I first heard Mastodon when Brandon Stosuy posted his review of Blood Mountain on Pitchfork in 2006. This album rocked my world that year, but I was even more impressed when I went back and listened to their prior release, Leviathan. This album was much harder. There was something familiar in this band, something that brought me back to my salad days of metal, that amazing time back in 1987 or so, but there was also something brand new here.
I listened to these albums quite a bit, and even went back as far as Remission, their debut album. At the time Remission didn’t grab me, but now that I have so much time invested in these guys, I realized that might be their best yet. It’s almost like somebody hearing Master of Puppets, thinking it’s amazing and then going back to Ride the Lightning and realizing how hard these guys can rock. But then they go to Kill ‘Em All and it just sounds too raw, too messy. But after some time you realize Kill ‘Em All f’in rocks!!!
In 2009 Crack The Skye came out. Another concept album. This one about a paraplegic boy and his astral travels. There is much more to it, but you can go look that up yourself. Needless to say there was a lot of acid consumed during the creation of this album. Skye polarized a lot of Mastodon fans. It is a mellow affair compared to their past releases…a little too mellow for some hardcore fans. To bring back the Metallica analogy, some cried “Black Album!” But that’s just not the case.
Yes, their latest will bring non-metalheads around, there will be indie kids at the shows now, and not every song is a banger. But the reason for this is because they have created such an amazing album. This album transcends the metal genre. Mastodon have matured as a band and it shows in the songwriting from cover to cover. And it’s by no means a soft rock album. The tracks here will still blow out your eardrums!
All that being said, Leviathan is my favorite to date, but I’m so looking forward to what direction they’ll take their brand of metal in the next decade, as well as the other metal bands I will discover thanks to these guys bringing me back around.