When Mastodon first reared its bucktoothed head in 2001 with the Lifesblood EP, the scriveners of metal took note: here was something promising. With 2002's Remission, the promise was kept; it was a debut that puzzled and excited listeners with an amalgam of styles: hardcore punk's intensity and angular chops; death metal's squealing, complex guitars; a heaviness usually the province of sludge and doom metal; and drumming that risked its integrity and ventured into the territory of wank by courting progressive rock and jazz. (Has anyone other than Magma's Christian Vander dared to marry percussion this complex to metal this extreme?) Other bands have flirted with this territory, most notably Dillinger Escape Plan, but their attack always had one foot firmly planted in punk's messy metalcore backyard. Mastodon, however, are leveraging with all hooves staked in the murky underworld swamp of extreme metal. We are now out of Remission and into 2004's highly anticipated follow-up, Leviathan, which again puzzles and will surely alienate one old fan for every two new admirers it gathers in its net. The naysayers will note that too many concessions were made on Leviathan in order to gain a wider audience, that the production is too polished and the vocals too melodic, and they are right. On Remission there was a claustrophobic paranoia, a suffocating heaviness like an elephant's heel pressing on someone's chest; its vocals were the raw hardcore screams of an anarchist drill sergeant. Leviathan digs out of the boot camp stampede and seeks out even heavier environs, going where few bands have gone before, straight down into the ocean. However, the studio polish of producer Matt Bayles that will be agonized by underground purists turns out to be just surface glare. Lurking beneath is an expansiveness more massive than anything found on the shores. The sound on Leviathan seems bottomless and infinite in the best possible way: it's not a dip in the pool; it's a headlong cliff dive into deep waters. There are remarkable no-they-didn't, yes-they-did changes littering Leviathan like chum in shark territory. "Megalodon" moves from angular post-hardcore to chugging boogie thrash with deceptive ease, turning from one to the other with a Southern rawk guitar lick sure to have Duane Allman raise a bony hand in deathly devil-horned approval. It's not just that the sound is now "oceanic," either; metal has always had a tendency to rehash the same dark themes and few bands have the wherewithal to attempt to broaden that vision. Leviathan may not be an out and out concept album, but it's awfully close and thank god they didn't choose anything as cheesy as a blind kid playing pinball. Instead, Mastodon's chosen guide is Moby Dick, and a good portion of the lyrical themes on songs like "Blood and Thunder," "I Am Ahab," "Aqua Dementia," and "Seabeast" are based on Herman Melville's dystopian waters. It's a good fit with the music, too. Filtered through Melville's spyglass, the watery tales and creatures of Leviathan are even more paranoid and intense than the more terrestrial Remission. Those who choose to follow Mastodon into the sea will surely agree.
Performance CreditsMastodon Primary Artist
Scott Kelly Vocals
Matt Bayles Organ
Neil Fallon Vocals
Bränn Dailor Group Member
Phil Peterson Cello
Troy Sanders Group Member
Bill Kelliher Group Member
Brent Hinds Group Member
Technical CreditsScott Kelly Composer
Matthew F. Jacobson Executive Producer,Audio Production
Matt Bayles Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Paul Romano Artwork
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Leviathan based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Mastodon. The name itself conjours images of a primordial land untouched by the rigors of the human psyche. And that is exactly what this bands music is, untouched by any man. With amazing riffs like those found in "hearts alive", picture-painting lyrics like in "naked burn", and added vocals from greats like Scott Kelly from Neurosis, its easy to hear the inspiring talent these musicians posess. Although Leviathan is quite a detachment from their previous heart-stommping release Remission, the musical quality is ten-fold and the ears are not left wanting.
What can I say? The most intersting and satisfying album I have heard in a long time. Powerful and beautiful at the same time.
If you're into diverse time signatures, fast-paced drumming, and bone-crushing riffs, I strongly reccomend this c.d. If you don't enjoy any of the above listings, I assure you get the c.d. for it's amazing booklet artwork. You will not have any regrets getting this album, I promise.
one of the best metal albums in a long time, not quiet as good as Mastodon's last album, Remission. They have their own unique style of music, and have the most intersting blend of music of any band i have ever heard. They are timeless, great guitar work, and just plain amazing guitar riffs
One of the most interesting albums ever!!!!
By far the most diverse metal band out there. I love diverse sounding metal like Mudvayne, Slipknot, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Soulfly, and Sepultura and the Black Dahlia Murder, Mastodon is by far equally talented and the most diverse. A band that will go down in the ages. If your a fan of diverse metal listen to this.
Leviathan is such a great album, Blood and Thunder, is such an amazing song.