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Mastodon: Leviathan (2004)

leviathan (lɪˈvaɪəθən)
▷ n 
1 Bible a monstrous beast, esp a sea monster
2 any huge or powerful thing
● ETYMOLOGY C14: from Late Latin, ultimately from Hebrew liwyāthān, of obscure origin

(MOT Collins English Dictionary)

I've regarded Mastodon as one of my favorite bands ever since I first got to know the band, which was actually (only) last year (or 2009?) through their 2009 album Crack the Skye. I got to know the discography sort of in a reversed order, from the latest album towards the older ones, and now I'm at Leviathan, which is their second full-length album published in 2004. This leaves me only the debut to acquire at some point. And actually Mastodon's new album will be released next month, if I'm not mistaken. I haven't listened to the new tracks yet cause I've been so immersed in Leviathan o__o. I want to give my full attention to one thing at a time, so I'll start listening to the new stuff when the time comes. (Similarly, I haven't listened to Opeth's new song yet. I want to find the right place and state of mind for that.)

E-hem. About Leviathan. I don't know if I should just cut to the chase here. Maybe I should. Ok. Mastodon's Leviathan is another mind-blowingly awesome album. There. I'm not going to lie.. These are my genuine feelings. 

To me Mastodon is what music should be about. I'd say Mastodon's music is art on a deeper level than Deftones, which I also have praised for its pure artsy sound. Surely almost every kind of music is art, but to me, the more progressive the music is (as long as it's not too progressive..), the deeper the feeling or atmosphere is in it. If it sounds like whoever composed it was high as a kite, hell yeah, that shit is ART. When you're able to completely detach from reality, you'll be able to create something pure. Of course you don't necessarily need drugs to get into that state of mind, but from what I've heard, Mastodon is not entirely a drug-free band. But I don't mind if this is what they create.

Leviathan's theme is based on Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick. Listening to the album, one gets drowned in the frightening, yet enchanting soundscape of sea. And by the way, the artwork on the booklet is another piece of fantastic art. Loads of ideas for tattoos, hmm.. The white whale and seamonsters.. I think I'm gonna have to read Moby Dick after this. Musically, fuck, I don't know what to say. It's progressive, it's heavy as fuck, it's beautiful, it's EPIC, it's technical, it's melodic and non-melodic, it's everything you need in the length of one album. Compared to the later Mastodon albums, I feel that Leviathan might be a bit heavier. Perhaps that can be owed to the whole sea theme. More stoner sound as well, particularly in two of Mastodon's very well known songs, Blood & Thunder and Iron Tusk. They are also the most easily approachable songs of the album, if you're not into the most progressive songs right away. Here's the official video for Iron Tusk.



What most struck me when I first listened to Leviathan, and what I still love about the album, is that you never know what the next song is going to be like. After you've had you're mind blown time and time again, and you think, "Surely there can't be any more surprises, this has been too good", fucking think again! To me every new song was another eargastic moment of THIS ISN'T HAPPENING.. And that, my friends, is a killer for a feeling. You don't get that with every other record out there. For example, merely the variation of different styles of vocals on this album is just incredible. Awesomeness is what you get with two singers in a band, both of whom have an amazing range of vocals.

I could go over the album song by song, but to make this short, I'll just introduce two of those mind-blowing tracks on Leviathan.

Aqua Dementia. FUCK. Just listen to those drums. With that finger-killing guitar melody. With those black metal screams. What the fuck more do you need? Seriously. I am totally satisfied.



Hearts Alive. I swear, every time the song gets HEAVIFIED at 2:04 after that beautiful acoustic intro (foreplay), I lose consciousness and I'm not here anymore. From that on, the atmosphere in that song is just so captivating that I forget everything and just DROWN into it. It's all I can hope for and it's all I need. It's the longest song on the album (13min 40s), and it's funny how I always say I hate these long, progressive, mostly instrumental songs but then in the end they make me their bitch.. Well, I don't mind.



My rating for Mastodon's Leviathan. Well. What do you think. 9,9/10. Because I will leave room for more Mastodon.

LISTEN TO MASTODON OR YOUR LIFE WILL SUCK ETERNALLY!!

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