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Review: Mastodon - Remission

Label: Relapse Records
Year released: 2002
Duration: 50:25
Tracks: 11
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: December 29, 2002
Reviewed by: Scott Murray
Readers Rating

Rated 3.31/5 (66.15%) (13 Votes)

The mammothly successful debut of Mastodon, consisting of Brann Dailor and Bill Kelliher (formerly of Today is the Day) and ex-Social Infestation members Troy Sanders and Brent Hines, comes off as an exercise in utter chaos upon the first listen. But the complex layering and song structures take several spins to fully digest. Remission is a brilliant beast of an album.

Catchy and malicious all at once, the Mastodon sound features influence from all over the spectrum of metal and beyond. This is a band consisting of veteran talent who know exactly where they want to take the listener with this music and know exactly how to execute their unique and technical ideas, creating a sound all their own.

Beneath the barking vocals (somewhere in between Phil Anselmo and Nergal of Behemoth) and overall animal aggression of the album, there is an entire emotional range complementing the heaviness which creates an intriguing yet unsettling ride for the listener.

An inhuman whaling (reminiscent of Cryptopsy’s Crown of Horns)leads into the opening track Crusher Destroyer, which lives up to its name. Short and to the point is the name of the game here: speedy, crushing and brutal. And like most of the other songs on Remission, Dailor’s fantastic drumming steals the show.

Songs like Mother Puncher, Where Strides the Behemoth and Burning Man keep up the dosage of crunchy and in your face rage. However, the real gems are the few lengthy tracks in which this four piece really get to showcase their superior songwriting abilities.

Ol’e Nessie shows a softness and vulnerability with a sense of brooding anger in the background, paving the way for the desperate cries for hope and continued echoing riffs, while Trainwreck has a dark and depressing feel to it. Tortured rasps and angry grind passages surrounded by doomy guitars comprise this disturbing work.

An eight-minute instrumental called Elephant Man closes the album. lead by the sounds of a windy snowstorm. It is a cold and sterile song featuring an old school-ish guitar solo, acoustics and for some reason, a minute of dead air which then cuts back to the now intense blizzard state of the storm.

This album is highly recommended to the open minded and patient metal fan who is willing to devote enough listens to this almost hour long experience to truly appreciate the intelligent mechanics behind it.

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