Molasses• Quicksand• Maple Syrup• Hot Tar• Pancake Batter• Mastodon’s most recent full length, Remission. All of these things are incredibly impenetrable and quite dense. While most of us do not require reviews for the first five items, the sixth is yet another well-written chapter in the Relapse Records book of punishing and destructive metalcore albums.

Mastodon, a band whose name comes from a long-extinct, somewhat friendly and slothlike beast, play metalcore with an emphasis on the lower notes of the guitar. It’s music that is the logical next step in progression up from sludge-core, just below chugga chugga metal. The guitars are tremendously overpowering on Remission, the riffs pounding like hammers against an innocent victim’s head. The drums are surprisingly mathematical and intricate, yet they are disguised with ferocity and brutality, thus making them seem simply tough and loud to the novice listener. The lead vocalist has one of the better growl-screamers in the business, and his cries are very convincing.

“So what’s new on this Mastodon record,” you might be asking; well, the production is much better than on their previous EP, and that thing was wonderful. It seems, too, that this is a much more violent and abrasive Mastodon than we have witnessed in the past. Things are grittier and nastier, making for a much more enjoyable listen. This is also an entire album, giving the boys a chance to let their skills in all areas shine (there are a few parts, here and there, where the band slows down and plays with weird and kooky guitar sounds, including some trippy stoner metal wanderings).

In short, I like the more violent and menacing Mastodon; they make me want to go run a marathon, as the energy on this album is completely contagious. This one came out a while ago, but it’s still worth checking out, if you’re into bands like Botch, Isis, Converge and the like. Grrr•

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