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JudgeDread

emperor of sand

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thought this album was amazing, no bad tacks, "show yourself" is abit watered down, but ok still.

 

despite what people say about mastodons evolution or "change in sound" i think its brilliant, i can appreciate all mastodons styles, but this is up there imo

personal favs are, jaguar god, roots remain, steambreather and precious stones

 

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Mastodon - Emperor Of Sand (This is a bit of long review with track details)

Overall Score: buy, borrow, ignore

Track rating: Skip, listen

* = Favorite tracks

1. Sultans curse: Classic mastodon song with strong riffs with powerful vocals from troy....great production...brents vocals sound strong as well. Main riff is awesome...second riff is very remissions and leviathan but with clean vocals. The bridge is super trippy with solid melodies definitely a mastodon only type of sound...more like blood mountain, leviathan songwriting wise...rather than the last 3 albums. 

- lyrics tell a great story...its always been one of mastodon strong suits. 

- solo was ok and it fit but nothing special....was just not feeling it needed to be there. 

- listen

2. Show yourself

- catchy tune clearly radio worthy...i like the melody, the groove and all the vocals but definitely not the heaviest or most " manly " metal that we've come to expect from mastodon...more of a queens of the stone edge vibe. Great bridge...and the melody is just too catchy to ignore for me.

- listen 

3. Precious stones: Had a crack the skye feel with a solid chorus. Good riffs but more of mastodon's thing going on here not much new or off the beating path. This song didn't have a lot to bring me back. It had this underwhelming feeling to it that i could just go with out. 

- possible skip other than the chorus not much is memorable for me...there is a cool section which is kind of a bridge at 2 mins which is pretty sweet...solo sounds a bit like filler and didn't fit the rhythmic parts very well....more of wanking over the top and i'm not a fan of leads like that. 

- skip

*4. Steambreather: One of my favs on the record....awesome groove even though it's the same thing through most of the track..i never get tired of it....has such an awesome flow and feel. The vocals really stood out as exceptional melodic choices....the verse and choruses. Really well written...and has solid dynamics.

- great main riff and proggy interlude....they show about bit of those prog colors at about 2:50 mins in. This is my argument for prog purest that proves mastodon is most definitely a prog band with a style all it's own....well other than baroness stealing their soul. The solo was ok but nothing to write home about it....felt a bit like they thought there had to be one...not that the song need one. 

- listen

*5. Roots Remain: One of the heaviest riffs on the record if not the heaviest riff opens this track...very driven. Then a epic chorus with that now classic crack the sky ethereal sound with brann on vox....mastodon as always destroys during interludes and bridges this song is no exception. Favorite for sure. 

- awesome solo....very feel based and epic...could not have been better written...love the spoken part right before. I think this solo had all the right pieces set up underneath it to play something over the top that sounds amazing...we as musicians sometimes think we are so good we can just save the day but a good setup will always out play u...so try and use the magic when it's there to it's fullest...this lead does that. 

- Listen

6. Word to the wise: Great vocal track...instruments are great too but the vocals and how far they've come shine in this track. The chorus is awesome....the solo was a bit random sounding just didn't fit for me with the bluesy shred.....just didn't work there for me. 

- lyrics are sweet in this song recommend following along but all their tracks have solid lyrics

- listen

7. Ancient kingdom: This song is really awesome with the lyrics as well....mastodon tells great stories....some of the riffs are nothing to brag about but sound good none the less...vocals carry this song for me. The chorus has a cool chord progression pretty catchy. Solo was decent although a bit of the same stuff from brent but the ending to solo had a cool lick....i think it was chicken picked but i'd have to see him play it to confirm of coarse. 

- listen mood dependent

*8. Clandestiny: This track had an ok verse riff but that chorus is an album highlight for sure. It's so catchy and troy's voice is perfect for it....then the pink floyd like sections with a hint of rush....i really like this track a lot. Solid solo with less bluesy shredding just a good feel. 

- The chorus is awesome and heart felt. I think it has the best lyrics in the whole album on this track.

"Give your life
So I can breathe
Save our lives
It's all we need"

*9. Andromeda: Very cool main riff that drives this song....and a cool melody for the prechorus. Really good solo here....fits really well. Outro is super solid....that main riff is really why this song will never be skipped by me though. 

- listen

10. Scorpion Breath: This song sounds so much like old mastodon it's hard not to thinks it's a little bit of repeat but still sounded awesome...it's the kind of repeat i'm ok with cause it's their sound...if it was someone else's i'd be singing a different tune. Classic beast hunter mastodon. The interlude is really amazing with those vocals. 

- Listen mood dependent

*11. Jaguar god: acoustic intro awesome....very melo track but if your driving in the rain could not fit better. Ethereal in the beginning for sure....uber progressive with all the dramatic changes and soundscape layers. It grows on you with many repeat listens...tons of layers and exceptional production. Nothing really catchy in it for me yet i still finding myself listening anyway. This is the most unique track on the record...for better or worse. I'm sure it will turn off some ppl but i liked it...it was just so progressive which i've never heard them follow the prog formula this close before...they may dabble in it or just do the soundscape thing but not riff it and have this many dynamic changes. I feel they were intentionally trying to push their songwriting in this track which they certainly accomplished...solo is amazing as well great melody and feel. 

- listen for the prog guys or anyone interested in that kind of music but probably skip for most

Overall: This is definitely a buy for me. I would recommend it if you like the old mastodon as it does have more of that vibe.

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