“High Road” has already been with us for some time but with the recent release of “Chimes at Midnight” it seems fitting to talk about both tracks Mastodon have released from their forthcoming ‘Once More Round the Sun’.
“High Road” echoes not back to an earlier Mastodon but rather early ideals. The heavy riffing and slow pace is very relatable to their notable idols Melvins, fans of Mastodon and Melvins will remember their cover of “The Bit” from ‘Stag’. The song however takes these earlier ideals but expands them into a more mature and orchestrated sound. Opting not just for sheer brutality but combining melody and various different passages. The different sections could be from 3 or 4 very different songs but coming together grants a simple picture of the dream ‘Once More Round the Sun’ aims to achieve. Despite the ‘Blood Mountain’-reprise sound it is a new Mastodon but one must remember it is only 4 minutes of an hour long album. As a first single goes it serves it’s purpose well by exhibiting the majority of the influences in a format which is easily grasped by those who are new listeners.
It will definitely not be the strongest track on the album, but as far as first listens go it’s good.
Verdict – 8/10
Chimes at Midnight
The second track from ‘OMRtS’ thankfully takes a different approach to “High Road” and shows how the direction may not be so clear cut as the first song demonstrated. Where “High Road” sounded like a hybrid between ‘Remission’ and ‘Blood Mountain’ mixed with Melvins, “Chimes at Midnight” sounds like the love child of ‘Crack The Skye’ and ‘Leviathan’ with obvious nods to ‘The Hunter’‘s hybrid sound thrown in. If this isn’t enough to explain why this song is so great then perhaps a few more words long than 3 syllables need to be employed. The songs implement of a multitude of different styles expands an already certified fact that Mastodon can jump and bounce between genres at the drop of a hat, “Chimes at Midnight” demonstrates a different aspect to ‘OMRtS’ and glides the audio-narrative into multidimensional planes. Once again Mastodon strike gold, or in the case of the ability to traverse entire star-systems with the power of the mind, unobtainium.
Combining these two tracks it appears the album will progress, not merely, as one would expect. Exploring a totally new element of music on an enjoyable yet turbulent ride. The album ‘Once More Round the Sun’ will be heavy, and hard-hitting yet at the same time it will open up your mind into a million square miles worth of sweet musical nectar for the taking.
The worrying thing is whether it will live up to the hype…
This is Mastodon, the only worry is they’ll exceed the hype and explode your brain at a molecular level and remove you from the entirety of space and time.
Verdict – 9/10