Mastodon - Emperor of Sand - Album Review - Progressive Sludge Metal from Atlanta, USA

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand - Album Review - Progressive Sludge Metal from Atlanta, USA
Mastodon - Emperor of Sand - Album Review - Progressive Sludge Metal from Atlanta, USA

Favourite song: Steambreather

Favourite deep cut: Andromeda

Favourite solo: Roots Remain

Favourite riff: Sultan’s Curse

Favourite lyric: “violence born within my mind” - Steambreather

Mastodon, performing live on stage. Credit: Unknown

It’s not right that I haven’t reviewed Mastodon yet, who’re easily the best conceptual metal band of all time.

Brent Hinds, Troy Sanders, Bill Kelliher and Brann Dailor are insanely talented and down to earth musicians. Brent played on three albums in 2017, Troy and Brann both featured on two albums in 2017. The fact that these guys can be so busy, while also having dealt with so much in their personal lives, really shows how personal music is to them. They show that no matter how good an album is, it always reaches the next level when you find out how passionate the musicians are.

Mastodon, Emperor of Sand Press Photo. Credit: Unknown

I don’t know many bands that have two singers, let alone three singers who all play an instrument in the band. Troy is honestly one of the greatest frontman of all time, live he has this personality about him that is so intense. His bass really cuts through in this album and adds a depth to the fuzzy guitars and the intensely rhythmical drums. Brent is one crazy motherfucker, and his solos are even crazier - they’re so raw and unique, yet fit in seamlessly with the rest of the song. Bill commands the riffs amazingly, providing a really solid guitar section for the music. Nothing really needs to be said about Brann, because his drumming says it all - and if it doesn’t speak of the best metal drummer then you’re not listening properly.

Mastodon, Emperor of Sand Album Artwork by Al Brown


1."Sultan's Curse"
2."Show Yourself"
3."Precious Stones"
5."Roots Remain" (titled "Eons" on the vinyl version)
6."Word to the Wise"
7."Ancient Kingdom"
9."Andromeda" (featuring Kevin Sharp)
10."Scorpion Breath" (featuring Scott Kelly)
11."Jaguar God" (featuring Mike Keneally)

The concept and story in Emperor of Sand follows a desert wanderer who has been handed a death sentence. Themes of death and survival are woven into the songs' lyrics, which were inspired by experiences members of the band had when family and friends were recently diagnosed with cancer.

Credit: Wikipedia

The album doesn’t seem to stop, and is full steam ahead form track 1. The intros to songs like “Roots Remain” give an interesting dynamic, it puts you in a weird headspace before pulling you back out with the thundering riffs, then taking you back to this dream like climax. The combination of sludge, stoner, and alternative metal elements on top of the progressive foundation allows the band to bring all these really unique and experimental elements into the music, like samples and percussion etc., to really emphasize the story behind the album. Best metal album of 2017. Best conceptual metal album ever.