Some of the heaviest music they have ever made

It’s probably fair to say that this is one of the most anticipated releases of 2014, and it does not disappoint.

Mastodon have taken the rock palette they applied to The Hunter and expanded on it with some of the heaviest music they have ever made while also adding a higher degree of accessibility. Their capacity for seamless and effortless diversity and their ability to never second-guess themselves is in full display across the album. Cases in point, first single ‘High Road’ is one of the ballsiest tracks this band has done in ages, built on a riff that sounds like the crust of the Earth being ripped open, while a few cuts further along, ‘Asleep in the Deep’ has an insidious pop element weaved into it that’s aided by the subtle use of electronics and trumpets, carefully buried deep enough in the mix that it would only be noticeable if it wasn’t there.

Once More ‘Round the Sun (it’s even grammatically correct!) begins with deceptively amiable acoustics before swining into the heavy rock swagger of ‘Tread Lightly’ with Troy Sanders in full voice and closing out with a gnarly guitar lead. Those solos are sprinkled throughout, including the Brann Dailor-driven next cut ‘The Motherload’ that is highlighted by one of the band’s best guitar solos in a while. Brett Hinds shines once again in ‘Chimes at Midnight’ as Mastodon slows to a Leviathan-like churn into the last half. Further surprises come in the shape of The Coathangers supplying a gang chant in the chugging, Dailor-voiced ‘Aunt Lisa’; Scott Kelly adds gravitas to the spiralling, chaotic progressive expanse that is closing number ‘Diamonds in the Witch House’, a multi-dimensional kaleidoscope of a track providing the perfect ending to another excellent Mastodon release that cleverly and skilfully combines the accessibility of The Hunter with their mathy, unpredictable past. The Georgians have proved themselves masters once again.

1. Tread Lightly
2. The Motherload
3. High Road
4. Once More ‘Round the Sun
5. Chimes at Midnight
6. Asleep in the Deep
7. Feast Your Eyes
8. Aunt Lisa
9. Ember City
10. Halloween
11. Diamonds in the Witch House