They’re often characterized as a group that has never put out a bad album. They probably are the one metal (mister Hinds) band of their generation that comes close to the term ‘universally accepted/praised’. Everything they’ve ever released secures a spot on most ‘best of’ lists. Three sentences, three statements that will only be reinforced thanks to ‘Emperor of Sand’.
‘Crack the Skye’ remains my favorite Mastodon album, so the fact that Brendan O’ Brien is back in the producer’s chair was encouraging. His return, along with the concept about cancer and mortality, have given ‘Emperor of Sand’ a darker vibe, a heavy substance that maybe was missed just a little on ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Once More ‘Round the Sun’, where the ‘lighter’, often humorous side of the band found more room to be represented.
In terms of songwriting, there’s much to be excited about. Not many artists can come up with choruses like the one in ‘Steambreather’ or write melodic guitar parts on par with ‘Ancient Kingdom’. Many of the vocal lines, the quite demanding ones nonetheless, are sung by Dailor, which brings to the surface the same old question marks about Mastodon’s live performances, but on the other hand how can you not be filled with respect for this multitalented guy, who probably steals the mvp title once again, from his equally amazing teammates.