Mastodon is one of those bands that have those little stickers on the CD that makes the band out to be a modern day Rush.
That sticker is the reason that I picked up Leviathan one day in the store. I liked the album, but Rush it was not.
I went back and listened to the band's first album Remission and thought, damn this is shit. Everything is muddy sounding and the vocals on the bonus live tracks are terrible.
Then Blood Mountain came out and it seemed like critics everywhere were raving about what a masterpiece it was. Don't get me wrong, I do think the album is good and really enjoy the song The Wolf is Loose. But I somehow managed to scrap the album after a few listens.
Once again I viewed the live performance and while better, the vocals just aren't quite right still. Nevertheless, the band is getting better and I think that Crack the Skye will be a decent album.
To me Lamb of God, God Forbid and Shadows Fall have all put out more interesting albums in their careers.
The band is going to have to pull out all of the punches to get to Rush status... as if that's even possible!
In fact, maybe the reason I can't back Mastodon as much as others is that I am holding them up to some impossible scale due to a little sticker that was on the CD packaging, probably put on by some PR person.
So, while you shouldn't go expecting the new Mastodon album Crack the Skye to be Permanent Waves II, it will probably still be worth a listen.
Crack the Skye is due out late March. You can check out a clip of the song Oblivion at the band's website. By clip I mean a 35 second piece of music that tells you hardly anything about the album, but they did just renovate that site.
UPDATE: Just got word in, a new song Divinations is going to be released via iTunes and the band's Web site as a single.
Here is the album cover, which I do think is cool.