Review MASTODON ‘Hushed and Grim’

When Mastodon released with ‘Remission’ their debut via Relapse Records, some first attention arose and it was the Leviathan’ longplayer that paved the way for the quartet from Atlanta, Georgia.

Mastodon had always a progressive component embedded in their sound. That goes for the wild and sludge oriented early days and it became more dominant with every album the four-piece powerhouse unleashed. To date, Mastodon released seven longplayers and it is ‘Hushed and Grim’ that’s supposed to continue the successful cruise through the sea of rock and metal.

A waiting time of four years will end on October 29th. And not only that ‘Hushed and Grim’ will be at the record stores late October, but the band also offers a lot of music. The newest addition to the band’s discography is a 15 songs featuring double album which provides nearly one and a half hours of excellently crafted metal.

Mastodon is a band with a line-up that is consistent and stable. Troy Sanders, Brann Dailor, Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher work together since 2000 and I think that the new album benefits from it a lot. Instead of following beaten paths, the quartet has the ability to reinvent itself again and again without deviating from its basic musical framework. Mastodon’s music never really fit into a specific box or genre. Too many influences and genres melt on their album with the newest one lifting the bar even more.

Metal, rock, alternative and punk, it all finds a spot on ‘Hushed and Grim’. With songs like the calmer ‘The Beast’ some psychedelic cross references found a spot on the album next to hard-hitting tunes such as the pounding ‘The Crux’.  Coming back to ‘The Beast’. It shows a very mature band at work that evolve their sound with every album. The song is built on a calmer motive that slowly builds up and gets louder but never fully bursts. A soulful solo part leads the song back to its origins, a slightly melancholic groove that puts a spell on you. ‘Had it All’ is a song that follows the same principles and shows Mastodon as architects of emotional soundscapes that impress.

Photo: Clay McBride

The melancholia that resonates with many songs isn’t a planned atmosphere. Rather, the band went through hard times. Their friend and manager Nick John lost his fight against cancer in the fall of 2018. In addition, there were still personal issues and bereavements that all influenced the basic tone of the album. It’s these scars of life that makes ‘Hushed and Grim’ to more than just an album from a well-known band. It makes this longplayer to an authentic and vulnerable release that is touching.

The first single that was taken from the new album is ‘Pushing the Tides’. The song’s a wild ride and represents the heavy aspect of Mastodon. Equipped with different layers the tune blooms right away and still has enough details to stay exciting for a longer time. A thundering start is what introduces ‘Savage Land’ before ‘Gobbles of Dregs’ shows in eight minutes why Mastodon is such an impressive band. Emotional depth, great songwriting and a sense for a great song is what this song mirrors. The end of this massive release is named ‘Gigantium’. The rougher Mastodon sound is what rounds off the album. The songs has a hypnotic rhythm and is a real finale of an great record.

Mastodon never disappointed and what the new album brings to the plate is stunning. Expectation have been high when it comes to this album and what the quartet delivers exceed them. ‘Hushed and Grim’ is a masterpiece that has the potential to become a timeless classic.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Pain With An Anchor
  2. The Crux
  3. Sickle And Peace
  4. More Than I Could Chew
  5. The Beast
  6. Skeleton Of Splendor
  7. Teardrinker
  8. Pushing The Tides
  9. Peace And Tranquility
  10. Dagger
  11. Had It All
  12. Savage Lands
  13. Gobblers Of Dregs
  14. Eyes Of Serpents
  15. Gigantium

Label: Reprise Records

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: October 29th, 2021

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