Perhaps no form of music is better suited to the story of _Moby Dick_ than metal. Dealing with whales, ships, water and intangibles like OBSESSION and REVENGE, the subject matter is pretty heavy. Projecting this story, American metal band Mastodon unleashes _Leviathan_. Probably the best thing you can say about it is that it is an epic that creeps up on you. Even listening to it abstractly, one slowly begins to recognize hethe brilliant intuition behind the musical flow. There is a feeling of great satisfaction when the last track plays, a feeling that evades most album creation.
Though resembling their namesake in terms of lumbering heaviness, Mastodon is a dexterous beast, from their brisk and tight metal rhythms to Brann Dailor’s fusion-esque drumming. Aggressive vocals are set with the churning waves of hulking riffs, with harmonic subtlety and some stunningly melodic parts without pretense. And they are metal through and through, with scores of meaty, blood-dripping riffs heavy enough to liquefy some heads.
The best song is the climax, “Hearts Alive”, which manipulates highly evocative atmospheres to orchestrate the dreadful, unstoppable crush of fate over its 13 minutes, and all with awesome riffs no less. The album is concluded with a somewhat uneasy electric-acoustic instrumental, “Joseph Merrick”.
I am reviewing the “deluxe” edition which comes with a bonus DVD featuring live tracks and some cuts from _Leviathan_ mixed in 5.1 surround. The extra musical features will probably be more meaningful to others…I am strictly interested in deluxe edition’s amazingly sexy jewel case. If you value the aesthetic side of CD packaging, this is the one to have.