Saturday, August 30, 2014


Mastodon channeled their progressive metal sludge into the epic ocean coil of this crushing conceptual cetology.  The group had formed in Atlanta in 2000 and released a demo on indie Reptile Records before signing to Relapse Records a year later.  The EP 'Lifesblood' came later that year to be followed by their fiery full length debut 'Remission' in 2002.   

'Leviathan' was produced by Mastodon and Matt Bayles at Robert Lang Studios, Studio Litho, and EK Studios, Seattle, Washington and features Troy Sanders on bass and vocals;  Brent Hinds on guitar and vocals;  Bill Kelliher on guitar and backing vocals;  and Brann Dailor on drums;   with Scott Kelly from Neurosis providing additional lyrics and vocals on "Aqua Dementia";  Neil Fallon from Clutch adding vocals on "Blood and Thunder";  Matt Bayles playing organs on "Joseph Merrick";  and Phil Peterson contributing cello on "Aqua Dementia".  

Dailor explains the concept behind the album:    "This is our second release, but I think that -always- with Mastodon there's always gonna be some kind of theme that has to be worked out way beforehand, obviously. Last summer when we did the headlining shows of the UK, I was in the middle of reading "Moby Dick". We were in London in fact, and I kinda just spouted off why we should choose "Moby Dick" as a guideline of what to write about and what to go for. I was looking up all these passages and reading them to the guys and saying: look, they call Moby Dick the sea-salt mastodon, you know, it's all in here. There are so many different images we can borrow from whaling and just the whole thing as a complete package. I thought it would be really, really cool, and I kinda used Mad Ahab as -us- being obsessed with, you know, playing music and potentially going down with the whale or whatever, you know what I mean? The whale being the audience, and we just... playing music and touring being such an obsession and just kind of like such a shaky ground 'cause it's heavy metal music, it's really not -- I mean we're all like 30 years old and it's quite possibly, almost definitely, gonna take you nowhere, you know what I mean?...It's not a good decision to make, to play heavy metal. Rap and r'n'b and stuff like that, that's where the money is at. Rap like Eminem; Britney Spears obviously: those are the people that are massively successful, blah blah. But there's no integrity, no heartfelt anything in that. But we just chose "Moby Dick" 'cause we're all really interested in any kind of folklore. We're totally into Sasquatch and The Yeti and The Loch Ness Monster and all that stuff, you know. We like that kinda subject matter; we're into that kinda subject matter. So I think the record as a whole, as it's coming together right now, has taken all this different stuff -- there's songs about like Fiji Mermaids, songs about Nephilims and all sorts of crazy stuff going on -- but it's also, we kinda tried to tie it into ourselves and the way we feel about stuff, and try to make it as passionate as possible."

'Leviathan' only charted at one hundred and thirty-nine in the US and one hundred and ten in the UK; but it established Mastodon as an irresistible force in the world of metal and harpooned the competition with its cutting edge artistry.  

Iron Tusk

Blood and Thunder

Hearts Alive

full album:

1. "Blood and Thunder" (Feat. Neil Fallon) 3:48
2. "I Am Ahab"   2:45
3. "Seabeast"   4:15
4. "Ísland"   3:26
5. "Iron Tusk"   3:03
6. "Megalodon"   4:22
7. "Naked Burn"   3:42
8. "Aqua Dementia" (Feat. Scott Kelly) 4:10
9. "Hearts Alive"   13:39
10. "Joseph Merrick"   3:33

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