There's no denying it any longer, Mastodon have officially established themselves as one of the monsters of this generation of metal and "Blood Mountain" is the sonic representation of them reaching that lofty height. Following in the footsteps of Lamb Of God in that their jump to the majors hasn't diluted them one bit, the band have set out once again with a conceptual effort that practically has masterpiece written all over it.
Some may be quick to claim that "Blood Mountain" isn't as outright heavy as the bands previous works and to some extent that does hold true. But when considering the complexity and bulldozing prog-metal nature of what this band accomplish in each song, this really becomes a non-issue. The group have dramatically stepped up both their playing and their songwriting in a massive way and the dizzyingly wanton results showcase a band in their prime.
With their indie dues paid it also looks like they felt confident enough to bring a number of guests along for the ride, including Neurosis' Scott Kelly ("Crystal Skull") and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta ("The Siberian Divide"); but the guest who makes his presence felt the most is Queens Of The Stone Age ringleader Josh Homme when he lends some trademark hums and words to the lingering mindfuck that is "Colony Of Birchmen" - a song which features perhaps the albums most soaring melodic chorus.
Truly an epic affair, the bands playing being able to match their expansive vision is an impressive feat in itself. Rife with stirring intricacies, off-timed wizardry and ravenous indulgence, "Blood Mountain" should reek of artsy pomp and spilled bong water and yet it doesn't; instead coming off like the equivalent a dropping a double of brown acid in Jurassic Park. Whether it be a towering riff, a muddy groove or nomadic introspection, the band still put their own spin on it. In turn, Mastodon have not only resoundingly established themselves as an entity all their own, but also just may have reached the peak of their career.
(5 / 5)