Within this complexity lies the problem: they are now nearly devoid of the howling, hurly burly ball-crushers that dominated their legendary debut Remission (2002), along with its follow-up Leviathan (2004). Infrequently, those moments of being heavy-yet-brilliant resurface, such as on middle album track "Chimes at Midnight," along with the entire Scott Kelly (Neurosis) collaboration/album closer "Diamond in the Witch House," but they are disappointingly rare. Yes, bands need to progress, but often simplicity hammers a point home far stronger than progressive meandering. At least this time around Mastodon has scaled back the saccharine elements that watered down 2011's inconsistent The Hunter, making a more coherent, strong album on par with Blood Mountain (2006) or Crack the Skye (2009). That leaves us with an album that's good, but hard to get excited over.
Read an interview with Mastodon's Brann Dailor here. (Warner Bros.)