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Mastodon: Call of the Mastodon

Call of the Mastodon is not the latest Mastodon album, but a remastering of the bands original Lifesblood EP plus four early and rare songs. This is where it all began folks, so don't expect the polished sounds of Remission or the breakout formula of Leviathan. Rather, these songs are the humble beginnings of a band that were still finding themselves, not sure yet how to combine their hardcore and prog-metal leanings, but still capable of creating music that was fresh and exciting.

The brutal yet intricate nature of the band can be heard early on through songs like "Thank You For This" and "We Built This Come Death", while their pummeling hardcore attitude comes out fully on "Welcoming War" and "Hail to Fire". Brain Dailor's drum work is just as manic and chaotic, if not more so, than on the subsequent albums, and since most of these songs are fairly short, the extended guitar passages are not as present, so his flailing drum work stands out even more. Not that there's a lack of precision and lumbering guitar work here, but the extended and complex workouts that the band have now perfected are still in their infant stage on this early material. A song like "Battle at Sea" best exemplifies the style that they would perfect a few years later, as this piece has all sorts of weaving and intertwining guitar parts, crushing, almost doomy guitar riffs, and of course Dailor's virtuoso drum barrage. The vocals on the album are pretty raw and rough, soaked in reverb, yet effective for this type of material. Again, this is another aspect that the band really worked on over the next few years, resulting in some of the best vocals in the extreme metal genre on Leviathan. In fact, the shouting vocal attack on "Slickleg" sounds almost like the style of Nordic Viking Metal bands like Amon Amarth, yet with a hardcore type attitude, but the music is still pummeling and complex. The jarring title track mixes Dillinger Escape Plan-like jazzy breakouts with crushing, Sabbathian riffs, some Southern Rock type harmonies, and plenty of manic rhythms.

If you are a fan of the two most recent Mastodon albums, this will be a no-brainer purchase for you. It's Mastodon in their early stages, with all their musical ideas just starting to come together, and you can clearly hear the different parts as they are trying to work together, which would ultimately mesh perfectly on Leviathan in 2004. Although the CD is barely 30 minutes long, it will be a worthwhile addition to your Mastodon CD collection while you wait for the band's upcoming major label release.

Track Listing
1. Shadows that Move
2. Welcoming War
3. Thank You for This
4. We built this Come Death
5. Hail to Fire
6. Battle at Sea
7. Deep Sea Creatures
8. Slick Leg
9. Call of the Mastodon

Added: February 26th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Mastodon Website
Hits: 2528
Language: english

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