Mastodon

Sometimes we at Fresh Scouts forget how much we love metal. It’s one of those genres where from afar you can look at it and say, “That’s not for me. It’s too guttural, too offensive, too loud.” But then we have to remind ourselves that if anything—music, movies, porn, whatever—was described as “guttural, offensive, and loud,” we as human beings would be first in line to sample whatever the hell it was. Americans love things that are hardcore, which is why we at FS are so surprised that we’ve failed to mention heavy metal more often.

mastodon2But if we’re gonna do metal, we’re gonna do it right, which is why Mastodon is the group de jour. Talk about a band that takes music seriously, these guys aren’t only concerned about putting out catchy music. They want to make sure it’s really good music, too, and we’re all aware that “catchy” and “good” aren’t always necessarily the same thing. The album is extremely dynamic, following no formula whatsoever in what they do not only from song to song, but from measure to measure within each individual track. That’s probably why you’ve never heard these guys on Top-40 radio. There’s nothing Motown about Mastodon.

Widely considered to be at the fore of the progressive metal movement, these guys’ latest album, “Crack the Skye,” released last March, was voted one of the best albums of 2009 for its musical complexity and depth and poetry of their lyrics. The album, according the musicians themselves, is thematic, covering the musical and lyrical tropes of Czarist Russia, astral travels, out-of-body experiences, and Stephen Hawking’s theories on wormholes. Pretty interesting group of subjects, no? Listening to the album, though, and you can almost feel a bit of each of those things. It sounds random, but it works. It’s a focused record that moves and rocks and stays interesting the whole way through. Who knew metal was capable of such fineries?

We understand this stuff isn’t everybody’s favorite, but the fact that Mastadon most recently opened for Metallica should speak volumes for what kind of credibility this group holds in the metal genre. Other than with that whole Napster debate back in the early aughts, is it even possible to disagree with Metallica? We submit that it is not.

So yeah, this stuff is guttural, loud, and maybe a little offensive, but that’s what’s so great about it. Don’t tell us it’s not for you. It’s for you. Trust us. It’s for you.

About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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