REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Metal Heavyweights Mastodon Return With Their Most Complete Album To Date

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Progressive metal masters Mastodon return with incredible new album “Once More 'Round The Sun” – and in doing so strike a claim for most important band in the genre.


Lets not mince our words and get this straight out of the way.  Mastodon’s new album “Once More 'Round The Sun” is by far and away their most epic, perfectly crafted release to date.

It's pretty much near the perfect album, in as much as it is dense, inventive, playing with well tested formulas and still pushing envelopes and striking new oil with incredibly brave and charismatically engaging risks.

Mastodon have always been a force to be reckoned with, without argument their output has never been shy of challenge and reward aplenty but this album is a different beast entirely. Its core is an epic prog masterpiece, the songs within are sharp, evolving and bursting with layer and hidden meaning.

The lyrics are the usual blend of storytelling and folk-through-metal-filter preaching – but there is a new edge, a glistening new brilliance to the colours and the contours of the music.  This is the band on undeniable hungry form, eyes bright with danger and knives out.

"High Road", the lead single, is a chugging, dirty southern rock monster.  Verse's build and build on impenetrable granite roadways, leading to choruses as big and as menacing as you like - but with an absolute indisputable anthemic feel.  It's what a single should always should like, gripping and full of hook, and by the time the second chorus hits and imbeds, you are wailing along like an absolute disciple.

Elsewhere "Halloween" is surely earmarked for future single potential, it is a cacophonous and steamrolling track, grabbing you by the scruff of the neck and pulling you full throttle into a new world.  Lead lines are ingenious webs of complexity and musicianship and the vocals are stronger than on possibly any other song on the album. It's just absolutely massive and full of so many quirks and beautiful moments... Heavy, yet so musical.

"Once More 'Round The Sun" is an unfaltering behemoth of songwriting and structure, combining their unique and trademark full band vocals, with music that is at once epic and insular.  It makes you fear the open spaces by clawing you into a small sphere of sound and layered dynamics… the brief moments you are allowed a respite, you swallow complex rhythm and force-fed dark, atmospheric, deeply complex verse, choruses that are 9 inch thick metal and vocals that spin wildly between barked and gruff to almost Ozzy Osbourne-esque grandeur.

Seriously, they need to invent new adjectives to allow me to voice my surprise and joy at how great this album is.  It will be emulated and copied for a generation, holding as lofty a place in the metal pantheon as "Iowa" and "Through The Ashes Of Empires" – it will be used as the blueprint by a thousand shitty wannabe carbon copy local acts, and it will constantly be cited as an influence on new musicians from this era.

If you haven’t already, stop reading now, and buy the damn thing – two or three times, one for every stereo or person in your household.  It is indispensable and it's demanding your money right goddamn now.

Once again, the Mastodon fella’s have blown me away.

Once again, standing ovation.

Keep it coming guys. 10/10