Mastodon: Emperor Of Sand

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Mastodon: Emperor Of Sand

Brendan O’Brien has returned to production duties on this album which comes with that amazing sound Mastodon had on Crack The Skye. I was hoping Emperor Of Sand would be the massive prog fest Crack The Skye was, but this isn’t the case.

Closing track ‘Jaguar God’ is the prog stand out that builds from a slow, calm strum to an amazingly heavy climax. Rock-radio-bait ‘Show Yourself’ is catchy as all f*ck and the lyrics “you’re not as safe as far as I can tell, and I can tell” just make so much sense. ‘Sultan’s Curse’ is an amazing showcase of how this band puts songs together so brilliantly, and tracks ‘Ancient Kingdom’, ‘Andromeda’ and ‘Roots Remain’ are amazing for their own reasons.

All of the vocals sound amazing, but Troy Sanders’ grey, smoky vocals are thicker, greyer and smokier as they rise up, spread out, and engulf. A lot of the tracks on the album end up taking a different direction than expected from the outset, and whilst that keeps the album unpredictable, it kinda feels like a lot of opportunities were missed. Then again, it’s Mastodon and we all know that these guys can create hundreds more killer tracks that we love.

4 stars
Reprise Records
Reviewed by Paul S Taylor