|Relapse Records varsity squad circa early 00's|
Once upon a time, Mastodon was a damn fine metal band. Today's Crunch Time installment hearkens back to that time. The early to mid 2000's to be exact. Mastodon was the result of two unique halves forming one new staggering musical whole. Bill Keliher and Brann Dailor (ex- Lethargy and Today Is The Day) brought the metal and spazz elements, while Troy Sanders and Brent Hinds added the rockin' Southern fried sludge that made Mastodon such a fucking beast. They crafted brutally heavy, yet mind bending-ly intricate songs that speed off in a zillion different directions but remained catchy and memorable as hell. After losing their original lead singer early on, Mastodon's subsequent "triple vocal attack," resulted in three different dudes who never sang in their lives just shouting their balls off and laying down some gnarly and distinctive extreme metal vocals in the process. Brann's drumming was straight out of this world. Like a speeding freight train about to derail, he jumped between wicked time signatures and tossed out twisted stick patterns like nobody's business. But yes, who could forget, the RIFFS. Thats what Crunch Time is all about remember? So listen to "Crusher Destroyer," the opening track from Mastodon's 2002 debut album, Remission and judge for yourselves:
Crushing riff? CHECK. T-Rex sample from Jurassic Park? CHECK. What else do you need?! That opening riff is so basic, yet devastating. It delivers pulverizing left hooks to your skull while the nonstop snare work jabs you to death. THIS is my Mastodon.
Sadly, in recent years the band has settled into a self indulgent wank fest (er, sorry Prog nerds but its true!). Horrible attempts at clean/melodic singing and a near complete loss of all the dynamic qualities listed before makes the present day incarnation of Mastodon a sad sight for this long time fan. At least Bill's new band Primate has some balls. Oh wells.