Emperor of Sand


Reprise, 2017


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Mastodon, one of the finest metal bands around, has returned with their new disc and boy, is it a doozy. The narrative running through the disc deals with cancer and its effects on one’s surroundings. As we all know, cancer is a mother to deal with. To have watched anyone suffer from this monstrosity is something that can shake down to one’s core. The members of Mastodon have taken their experiences and channeled it into some real heavy music here.

The two main singles, “Show Yourself” and “Sultan’s Curse,” are markedly different from one another. The former is a quick little number that’s just okay; it doesn’t do a whole lot for me, but as always, the musicianship here is amazing and one of the things that helps set Mastodon apart from the other bands of their ilk. “Sultan’s Curse” is a cool opener, one with a groove that’s a bit different from Mastodon of the past; the vocals are great here, as they always are, and it’s this combination that makes it one of the most interesting singles this year so far.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Roots Remain” is one of the least desirable tracks here. It has great music, but this time, the vocals are kind of all over the place and it never really gets the chance to come together as a strong enough selection. On the other hand, “Steambreather” is a powerhouse, complete with classic musical intricacies running all over the track, really making it all the more stronger than other tracks.

“Ancient Kingdom” is another one of those classic Mastodon tracks that one ends up putting on constant repeat like “The Motherload” or “Blood And Thunder.” It’s got tons of great riffage towards the end, which is always a plus. But it’s only towards the end of the record that the band really gets cooking with the power track “Andromeda,” featuring guest vocals from Kevin of Brutal Truth. The song is really strong and is more in line with the band’s more recent stuff.

But it’s album closer “Jaguar Breath” that really takes the cake as the best cut here. It truly is awe-inspiring and is, simply stated, one of the best tracks the band has ever done – just an amazing, epic ride all the way from start to masterful finish.

While not an all-around classic record from the band, Emperor Of Sand definitely has its great moments and is surely one to get repeated listens from diehard fans.

Rating: B

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© 2017 Pete Crigler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise, and is used for informational purposes only.