Mastodon: Once More 'Round the Sun
(Warner Bros. / Reprise, 6/24/14)
Now 14 years into its career, Mastodon has taken an unreasonable amount of guff for moving towards rock structures and catchy choruses.
Its sixth LP won’t dissuade the naysayers. With its biggest pop hooks to date, and seemingly more vocals than ever from drummer Brann Dailor, the album is its most accessible—despite plenty of progressive passages, raging solos, and the occasional shrieking vocals.
Once More ’Round the Sun remains heavy in tone and tuning too. At the same time, a full-blown pop chorus in “Ember City” borders on emo, and a bridge in “Aunt Lisa” falls somewhere between Metallica’s “Creeping Death” chant and the cheer-squad vibe of Sleigh Bells.
Mastodon may not be making Remission II anytime soon, but its songwriting chops are no worse for the wear.