Review by Mike Korn
There is a generation gap in heavy metal that seems unbridgable. The veterans who remember the great years of the 70's and 80's seem content to bask in the music of their youth, giving very little heed to newer bands such as Shadows Fall or Lamb of God. On the other side of the coin, the kids who eat up Slipknot and Tool probably wouldn't give the time of day to progenitors like Rush, Deep Purple or Iron Maiden.
That's what makes Mastodon so exciting, because here is a group that has appeal to both those camps and who may be the best bet yet at bridging that generation gap. This talented four piece has come up with a very distinctive sound that merges the thoughtfulness and epic nature of older metal with the aggression and attitude common today. If Mastodon remind me of anybody, it would be Rush, but a Rush that embraced heavier elements instead of the more pop and synthesizer-oriented songs the Canadians opted for. "Leviathan" lyrically deals with the classic Melville novel "Moby Dick", amongst other weighty subjects, and this use of great literature as a source also reminds me of Rush. And like Rush, Mastodon also possesses an incredibly talented drummer who performs feats of rhythmic dexterity that boggle the mind.
Lest you think these guys are only a throwback to days of yore, there's also a lot of very brutal metal going on, like a sleeker and more cerebral Lamb of God. Mastodon is a band rooted very much in the here and now, and yet they have a lot of respect for metal and indeed rock's grand history. Listening to "Leviathan" is an exhilarating experience for somebody like me who enjoys both past and present heavy music. I have no doubt that this band will emerge as one of the new giants of the metal scene.