This is the best album ever created. Simple as that. I can honestly say, in all of my life, that I have never come across an album that moved me as much as Mastodon
's mighty Leviathan
To fully understand the majesty of this album, you need to know the history of this band. Mastodon
's first release was the Slick Leg
EP (it is barely released ; to listen to these songs, listen to Call of the Mastodon
or search for them online), followed by the Lifesblood
EP. After that came the legendary Remission
, kicking off the elemental trend that all of their full-lengths follow. Slick Leg
wasn't perfect, but it showed promise. Lifesblood
fulfilled that promise with a fifteen minute punch in the face comprised of five songs. Lifesblood
, despite its short length, remained epic ; it was essentially a shorter version of a full length Mastodon
album. In 2002, Mastodon
released what appeared to be their masterpiece with Remission
. While the vocals on that released contained no melody, it was still melodic : the melodies were just written into the instrumentals.
then, in 2004, Leviathan
, the album based on Moby Dick
for its representation of the water element, came out. Oh, my god. People were wrong about Remission
; it wasn't their masterpiece. This was.
I could keep gushing about the utter perfection of this album, but let's get to specifics. All of the instrumental and vocal work are absoultely perfect. The guitars blend together perfectly and Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher play off each other like nothing you've ever heard. Brann Dailor is the best drummer I've ever heard, and having played drums for twelve years myself, I have immense respect for what this man can do behind a kit. Lead vocal duties are split between Brent Hinds and Troy Sanders, who also plays bass. Now, the one aspect of Mastodon
that I've heard people complain about is the clean vocal work. At first glance, I understand where these people are coming from. The vocals do take some work getting used to. They are sung with a slight syrupy tinge that some people may find tiring. However, they fit with the music perfectly. In fact, all of the vocals do, screamed, shouted, growled, roared, or sung. It all works out perfectly.
The album starts off with a track to bang your head to in the form of the absolutely perfect "Blood
". From the wonderful flow of the song, to the immense mightiness, to the lyrics, it makes you feel like you're being mauled by a giant whale... in a good way. To Demo
nstrate the power of the lyrics, here is an excerpt from "Blood
" : "Split your lungs with blood and thunder/when you see the white whale/break your backs and crack your oars men/if you wish to prevail/this ivory leg is what propels me/harpoons thrust in the sky/aim directly for his crooked brow/and look him straight in the eye". It really makes you feel Ahab
's insanity, and to complement the lyrics, the angry, rolling epic music makes you feel like you're in a boat during a thunderous seastorm. It's just perfection.
"I Am Ahab
" continues the trend of heaviness, and while not as smooth as "Blood
", it's choppier for a purpose. It's meant to feel more schizophrenic, and it actually reminds me of their early song "We Built This Come Death" from the Lifesblood
EP, albeit a more reformed, mature version. Next
up is "Seabeast" which slows things down to a melodic doomish sort of vibe, with great riffs and mostly clean vocals. It's the ocean calming down, if you will. But the ocean doesn't remain at peace for very long, because up next is a string of three amazing, brutal songs in the form of "Island
", "Iron Tusk", and "Megaladon". "Island
fully embraces its wildness, and it is even more schizophrenic than "I Am Ahab
", reminding us even more of Mastodon
's early days. "Iron Tusk" is more refined, but still awesome, including some of the best drumming on the album, and an instantly memorable main riff. "Megaladon" is an odd mash-up of extreme metal structure, vocals, and sound and southern rock styled riffs. It's one of the most experimental pieces on the album, and for a song with so many styles, flows incredibly smoothly.
" treats us to more clean vocals, awesome riffs, and one of the coolest intros I've ever heard. I don't even know how to describe this song, really. It's just that awesome. "Aqua Dementia
" brings back to the "Blood
"/"Iron Tusk" kind of thing, and while it's the least memorable of this type of tune on the album, that's not a bad thing. It's easily the most complicated of the three, and just as much fun to listen to.
Alright. "Hearts Alive
". Whew. This song is like Mastodon
going prog. It is a thirteen minute epic of legendary preportions, and it is absolutely unlike any other Mastodon
song ever. It starts out with a dark clean riff with some soft, yet complex, jazzy drums. This goes on for about two minutes. Before an amazingly cool prog/thrash riff kicks in. Then, a death/doom riff kicks in with semi-clean vocals. Seriously it is one of the most powerful beginnings to a song I have ever experienced. From there on, the song goes from heavy to soft in sweeping, majestic crecendos of sound before its finale of a sick slowed groove/thrash riff. This song is one of Mastodon
's high points of their entire career, as are most of the songs on this album. The final song, "Joseph Merrimack
", is a mostly acoustic instrumental with some light drums that provides a beautiful ending to an otherwise brutal release.
I know I'm repeating myself : This is the best album ever made. I don't care if you're a metal fan or not, you need to own this album. If you are a metal fan, you probably know what I mean when I say this is one of the most epic releases ever. If you aren't, this could change your perspective on metal music entirely. Just please, please, please buy this album. Leviathan
truly is the God