Release Date: September 12, 2006
Reviewed by Nathaniel Shannon
Blood Mountain, Mastodon’s major label debut is arriving with all the hype that a band of four workhorse, blue-collar musicians could ask for. Publications such as Spin and Rolling stone hail them as the new Metallica, or the saviors of metal, but forget what is really important when dissecting the band’s music. Mastodon make music not only for themselves, but for other musicians. They are a band’s band, and always will be. What the hell is the point in making music that only challenges the listener, but not also the artists themselves?
Blood Mountain is the band’s third full length album, and Mastodon get right down to business doing lines off Lemmy’s forehead while injecting deep into their flesh all the Corrosion of Conformity, Acid Bath, Delta Blues, New Orleans Jazz, and everything else unholy that makes me love living in the dirty south. The caked mud and whiskey of the guitars, thunder of the bass, and blood pouring from drummer Bränn Dailor’s knuckles are axiomatic as Matt Bayles (Botch/Isis/Minus the Bear) takes control of the knobs, and records another album to add to his growing resume of brilliance. Once again songs’ guitar work have the catchiness that make bands like Pantera and Slayer memorable for more than just their brutality, along with the sultriness of artists such as Jimmy Page, and Thin Lizzy.
Ever since discussions of the albums conception last summer, I have been anxiously waiting for this record to come out. I am pleased to hear another breath of fresh air from a band that has already made sure as hell everyone knows they are not only going to have great commercial success, but also write a record so far beyond that of 80% current bands claiming to be metal…but who fall into a category reminiscent of the 80’s Sunset strip hair metal tragedy.
Mastodon is making metal for the sake of musicianship, self-loathing, and recognizing beast inside all of us, not spandex, hot tubs and prostitutes. I like hot tubs. Blood Mountain is not Leviathan, it is not Remission, it is not Lifesblood…it is Blood Mountain. To compare any of the band’s records to one another is pointless, as the concepts behind each one are different. The biggest difference between Blood Mountain and the rest of the Mastodon discography is the addition of more southern oulfulness of the vocals a la Dex Riggs (Acid Bath), Kirk Windstein (Crowbar) and Layne Staley, which prior to this release have not been such a driving force. Southern stoner metal vocals, like the south’s humid summers, hang in the air for a period of time before drenching one with blood and sweat. Hack bands like Godsmack and Staind have nauseatingly murdered this, and it is chilling to hear vocals like this executed properly. Blood Mountain is what it is: a journey to Blood Mountain, where there is no such thing as eyeliner or bat country…and why the hell would there be?