What an great name (almost as good as Vomitory)! An unpredictable, careening juggernaut of hair, tusks, teeth, and nails. You gotta figure that a Mastodon was as noisy and violent as fuck, and damn if this band don’t do a pretty reasonable facsimile of a prehistoric rampage in Remission. To appropriate the title of a Skinny Puppy record, you’ve got to be a pretty good hand. Thankfully, Mastodon deliver the goods. In fact, they almost seem to have the same aesthetic need for catharsis through pain that characterized the best Skinny Puppy records. And oblique as hell, to boot!

Remission has got an ace December/Today Is The Day feel — though a little more reined in and kept in check by a healthy appreciation for, I think, early Godflesh and other classic Earache fare. Musically, they’re schizoid, but there’s no noodling or showing off, songs are focused around a central series of ultra-heavy-fukker riffs, it’s like a suicidal Dillinger Escape Plan (or mental patient, I’m not picky) reflecting wistfully on a life of pain, right before they put a shotgun in their mouthful of Valium. Some excellent vocal torment is on display here as well. The songs are angry, disjointed and so instinctive. “Crusher Destroyer” is a nice, bruising statement to begin the record, full of drum rolls, fret craziness and some raw Dwid-esqe vocals. “Where Strides the Behemoth” oozes such low bass rumble that it almost sounds like a tear in the very fabric of reality, contrasted with some high squiggly guitar and subhuman animal vocals, like Obituary vs. Earth Crisis. Bowel-liquefying low end! “Burning Man” is total grindcore/free jazz lightspeed, with a guitar crunch eerily reminiscent of Megadeth. “Trampled Under Hoof” alternates between ominous metallic rumble, and guitar/drum seizures. In “Trilobite,” the music almost seems organic and sentient, acting out the “fight or flight” response — lash out, cower, lash out, cower.

Are the indie rokkers getting into this? Seems a little heavy for them. I feel so lame and stupid because Mastodon used to play up here all of the fucking time and I’d always miss them because of some weird, but non-inevitable, quirk of timing. Piss. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Relapse Records:

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