Roundtable Review: Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun

Mastodon_CoverLabel: Reprise Records

Release Date:  June 24, 2014

Songs:  11

Length: 54 minutes

Genre:  Progressive sludge metal/rock

Studio Albums: 5

Location:  Atlanta, USA



WarpRider – A few years ago, I wrote an article about some very popular metal bands that I felt I should like, but didn’t. Mastodon was one of the bands included and despite having seen them live, I just couldn’t get into them. Things have changed over the years and I have begun to really appreciate their progressive prowess though Blood Mountain and The Hunter albums. All good things in moderation, right? I have seen on other (will remain nameless) review sites that the new work is more accessible and they welcome Mastodon to the radio-friendly world. Not that those were necessarily bad comments though. Apparently, that is what I need to completely devour a Mastodon album. For lack of better terms, I really dig this shit! It’s been spinning my ear drums in circles since I acquired it. My initial favorite track is “The Motherload”, though I haven’t found any faults with any songs. I’ve enjoyed the album through and through. 4.5

Atleastimhousebroken – Where does Once More ‘Round the Sun succeed in the newfound change of style heard on the disappointing The Hunter? Well, the track “Aunt Lisa” sums that up quite well when the band goes full-on Faith No More and a cheerleader squad cheers, “Hey! Ho! Let’s fucking go! Hey Ho! Let’s get up and rock and roll!” On this record Mastodon knew exactly what they wanted, to fucking rock and roll.  And that’s what they delivered.  Where The Hunter had some great tracks, it was largely unfocused and boring because of this. Here each track is focused on delivering fun and catchy hard rock chock full of prog and heavy metal influences. There’s no mishmashes of Mastodon trying to appease veteran fans while trying to make a stylistic shift. This is the album they wanted to write and it shows; they put their all into it.

Being a long-time fan of the band, I do miss their thicker sludge metal style heard on Remission and Leviathan and that ultra prog metal of Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye. However, if they choose to continue down this path of quality hard rock with some sludge and prog influences, I’m totally cool with that as long as they continue the songwriting quality heard here on Once More ‘Round the Sun. Favorite tracks: “Diamond in the Witch House”, “Halloween”, “The Motherload”. 4.75

Irmelinis – Before catching Mastodon’s excellent live set at a big festival recently, I went through their discography just to find that the only full album I really like of theirs is Crack The Skye. Mainly because it’s inspired, less sludgy and has lots of variation. Just like this one. Here they also added tons of relaxed hard rock catchiness, engaging melodies and classy, fast riffs. You won’t be able to resist the eerie vocal hooks in these songs and the lovely psychedelic touch of sadness will instantly take a hold of your heart. I love how the band is sounding focused and confident, the vocals are absolutely fantastic and these proggy, contemplative song structures work perfectly.  The last track, with Scott Kelly from Neurosis on guest vocals, is my favourite. Stay classy, Mastodon! 4.75

ChristopherMammal – By the time the vocals started on the opening track, “Tread Lightly”, I had already added Once More ‘Round the Sun to my spreadsheet of candidate albums for Best of 2014. With this release, Mastodon have leapt up to the elevated platform where I keep Monster Magnet, Orange Goblin and Black Label Society. This isn’t just sludge or stoner, though. It has a powerful prog rock/prog metal feel and a delicious psychedelic flavour. I haven’t tried to single out a favourite song on the album, the whole damn thing is just so good. The driving, thrumming riffs are like a great massage from a metal chick – er, a physiotherapist. The echoing vocals and multi-vocals take me back through memories of some beaut space/psychedelic bands of the last 4,000 years and remind me that I’m old enough not to bother about political correctness. Why should I? Mastodon are uninhibited. I shall be, too. Sorry, hey, metal chicks. Get this album and you’ll feel 100% better. 4.5

A Metal State of Mind Score – 4.6




Posted on June 27, 2014, in Roundtable Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Dudes,
    You just cost me money. Now I HAVE to buy this.

  2. ChristopherMammal

    What Irmelinis said. 🙂

  3. This is a cool roundtable, well done. I agree with all points. Mastodon has changed and grown as a band it is all good. They are building one helluva impressive catalogue.

    MASTODON!! \m/ \m/

    Also now following the site. Looking forward to digging around.

  4. ChristopherMammal

    I hope you have lots of fun here, keepsmealive. We do.

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