Tomorrow will be an awesome day, for I am seeing the mighty Mastodon with my sister. Before that though, we have the list of the Top Ten songs. Enjoy!
10. Crack the Skye, Crack the Skye
Much has been made of the emotional element in this record, that being the death of Brent Hinds sister, Skye. While the record and this song doesn’t get very sappy in regards to her death, it’s a powerful album that sees Hinds singing for the first time substantially. The record is great, but one of the standouts is without question the title track. It’s a pummeling song musically, and the roughness of the vocals matched side by side by soaring vocals, only helps to add to the emotional toll, and for that reason it opens our countdown.
9. the Motherload, Once More ‘Round the Sun
The video with the butts. Yes, you read that right. Mastodon tends to be all over the place with their music videos, and for this clip, they incorporate ladies you’re more likely to see in a Juvenile video than a metal one. Either way though it works its magic, and adds to the essence of the song. Speaking on the song, the drums and vocals, both presented by Brann Dailor make themselves the stars of the show, and thus they propel the song to a high energy place that makes it difficult to ignore, whether you like it or not. I also really dig the Ozzy-esque sounding vocals mixed through the track. It doesn’t come off as trying to rip him off either, which is easier said than done when you try to pay homage.
8. March of the Fire Ants, Remission
My first introduction to this band was this video, as seen back when MTV2 played video(Seriously read that sentence again and mourn that the channel specifically made for videos doesn’t even do it.) Moving on, the vocals are cutthroat and gravelly, and the power behind the rhythm section is top notch, even for a band at their early days. Almost everything about the song is a force unto itself, but of all thenew wave of american heavy metal bands that came forth, Mastodon managed to stick through it and have become an amazing band,.
7. Divinations, Crack the Skye
When I made this list I was surprised at which songs I loved the most but also which albums were most represented, this being the most represented. Another sprawling and epic song finds us at number seven on the Top Ten Mastodon songs. “Divinations” features multiple vocal parts, psychedelically tinged guitar and bass sections, and an absolutely amazing howl from Troy Sanders. It’s a juggernaut and probably one of the reasons they are so well liked when it comes to the more prog mentalities. Seriously it’s a great track and one that many people overlook. Check that shit out!
6. Oblivion, Crack the Skye
This song opens with an ominous dark hue hovering over the sky. Musically it’s Mastodon at their most foreboding and menacing, so it’s hard not to like it as a metal fan. From my first listen I enjoyed it thoroughly. Another great skill the band has is it’s ability to quickly move between movements and transitions and keep the pace up. This is clearly evident multiple times through the track, and it only gives more credence to just how great of musicians they all are. The lyrics are also highly unsettling and personal, which definitely helps when you write this type of music.
5. Colony of Birchmen, Blood Mountain
One of the best things the band does is concept albums. Time after time they’ve demonstrated, and with “Blood Mountain” from 2006, the may have made an album that matches up against their other great concept album “Leviathan.” Accompanied by Queens of the Stone Age founded Joshua Homme, the song whirls and climbs slowly up the treacherous mountain in search of safety, which likely won’t be found. Homme especially adds a great mixture to the track with his signature voice. I wish they'd have more guest vocalists, but if he’s all we ever get, I’ll gladly take it.
4. Iron Tusk, Leviathan
Oh my god the opening of this insanely brutal song is like no other openings I’ve ever heard. They don’t even get to 100 miles per hour in the first five seconds because that’s where it fucking starts. It’s as in your face and rambunctious as anything they’ve ever written, and in the context of the Moby Dick inspired concept album, you can imagine this track being set to imagery of the mighty creature devastating everything it touches in the ocean waters, and not taking any prisoners, but only lives. It’s a polarizing song that hits hard with every punch, and also remains one of the heaviest tracks they’ve ever created.
3. All the Heavy Lifting, the Hunter
Something to know about me is that I love love love soaring vocals and big choruses. It’s almost as if it’s implanted in my DNA. This song has both of those things, which is likely why it ends up as Number three on our countdown. The “Just Close Your Eyes,” section of the chorus manages to tingle the skin as the story of a frantic family trying to survive is unfolded before us. Lyrically it’s a powerful song able to also shine musically in an introspective way. The band is utterly focused and winds through sections with ease and a grace that is missing sorely in music. In the end though, “All the Heavy Lifting” is about solidarity and remaining calm under extreme pressure.
2. Tread Lightly, Once More ‘Round the Sun
It’s hard to top a killer album opening song, but they always seem to start off every album in wonderfully epic and big ways. “Tread Lightly” off the most recent “Once More ‘Round the Sun” is another solid example of the band blowing up sonically to introduce a new record. The vocals are harrowing and hopeful, and even enlightening at moments. Seriously it’s one of the most uplighting metal tracks I’ve ever heard, and because of this it finds itself way up on the countdown. Doing this is tricky, especially in the genre they’ve been lumped in with. It’s an eye opening example of what metal can do, and along with the brilliance of the instrumentation, it never gets old and played out. If anything it gets better with every listen.
1. Blood and Thunder, Leviathan
Maybe an obvious sort of choice, but the song is so well thought out and paced that it’s difficult to argue with, at least in my eyes. From the crunchy opening of the guitars, to the blowup at the end, this song easily has everything a fan could want out of his band. The opening track off of their mind blowingly good, timeless record “Leviathan,” “Blood and Thunder” shatters windows with it’s sprawling drumming, the backup vocals, and especially the guitars. This is likely the band’s best known track, and always a highlight at their live performances. I can’t even imagine another track opening the record, which is good, because it sets the epic scale and quick pace for the remainder of the record. Records like this don’t come around too often, and it’s song like this that makes albums this special. The vocals at the end regarding “the White Whale” only add to the tension of the song, and for that reason it lands at number one. Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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