A sporadically-updated music collection blog. Send questions to twitter or email me.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Mastodon - Blood Mountain

It's not very often that I post metal albums on here and, to be honest, that's because I don't buy a lot of metal on vinyl. After spending a lot of my teen years listening to nothing but metal, I kinda drifted away from it a lot in recent years and these days it's rare that a metal album gets me overly excited (one notable exception being the phenomenal Longhena by Gridlink, but trying to get that on vinyl without spending a fairly large amount of money has proven difficult). This, though, comes from that golden age where I had rather long hair and wore almost only black and sweatbands. Man it was fun.

So, Blood Mountain by Mastodon. This is an expanded version of the CD album art, which is always nice, and it's absolutely magnificent. The "reduced" version of the artwork was my computer wallpaper for what must have been several years, I just really love the style of it and this version is even better. It's no exaggeration to say this is one of my favourite album covers of all time.

A lovely double-sided insert which matches the theme of the rest of the artwork. The side with thanks is relatively unimportant (though nice artwork) but yessss we have the lyrics and they are absolutely insane, in the best possible way. "Shake the hand of lightning", "evading sharks of the sky" - it's a sea of weirdness. I definitely benefit from having them written down rather than making my own interpretations.

Plain black vinyl. I didn't know what colour this was going to be when I ordered it, but it was so cheap that I didn't mind. There are some goregous colourways of this record, which would be lovely to own but I'm pretty content here. Apologies that you can see me in the reflection of the record as well, some poor photo skills from me here.

If I were pressed to make a list of my favourite albums of all time, this would most probably be in the top ten. I realise that for a lot of people Leviathan is the best Mastodon album, but for me they stepped it up another level by following that album with this one. It's less thrash-y and more proggy, which is pretty much the opposite of what I'd normally want but it just works. The tone of the album is absolutely spot on, and in terms of musicianship it's so so impressive. Even the pacing of the album is perfect - the whole thing feeling like a journey, with swells at the right times and a gradual slowing down as the album heads towards its close. With regards to my favourite track, it's rather difficult to pick one out in particular. The Wolf Is Loose is an excellent opener, a quintessentially Brann Dailor drum intro giving way to screaming guitars and the sprinting rhythm that begins the journey of the album. Capillarian Crest throws time signatures all over the place but still fits together cohesively. The song that sticks with me the most, though, is the utterly ludicrous Bladecatcher. It defies description - alternating between rapid-fire head-down riffing and sugary sweet melody, the only vocals being jumbled noise and whistling. It sounds silly and it is, but it's also absolutely great. So is this album. I love it with all of my heart.