MASTODON – Leviathan

Leviathan is the long awaited second album from one of the underground’s most suprising breakthroughs, MASTODON. From the opening attack of the forceful “Blood and Thunder” to the album’s epic centerpiece, “Hearts Alive,” the listener is taken on a complex musical journey with numerous peaks and valleys, encompassing everything from experimental hardcore, aggressive thrash metal to involved progressive rock. But unlike its predecessor, the more straight forward Remission, Leviathan is a much more dynamic album utilizing softer, moodier passages that help set up the onslaught that flows throughout the album. “Megalodon” is a fine example as the band shifts from dark moody textures to syncopated metal before using a short southern rock passage to set up the pummeling thrash that follows before switching effortlessly into RUSH-inspired progressive rock patterns. If drummer Brann Dailor is a fan of AC/DC, you’d never know it by the way the man plays. Dailor explodes with flurries of intricate, syncopated drum patterns and inventive fills, which may be the key to MASTODON‘s unique sound. It’s as if the drummer has switched places from his conventional band role as rhythmic guide and taken over the more melodic aspects and upfront lead sections usually reserved for the guitarist, which results in what could only be known as “melodic lead drumming.” But make no mistake, guitarists, Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher, as well as bassist/frontman Troy Sanders are no slouches, matching Dailor note-for-note in shifting tempos as well as the abrupt changes in dynamics and musical genres at the drop of a hat. Leviathan is the sound of a band that isn’t particularly concerned with the rules and conventions placed on the easily categorized and pigeonholed. Instead, the band focuses on doing whatever they please, resulting in some of the most honest, creative and interesting music in today’s underground. (Relapse Records)

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