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Leviathan

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Leviathan finds Mastodon sharpening its prog-rock edge without sacrificing its grindcore muscle, resulting in a thunderous yet flexible hybrid sound. Using Moby-Dick as a recurring motif, the band summons up an aura of seafaring heroism and primeval danger (with a bit of Teutonic mythology tossed in). Brann Dailor’s tempo-shifting, jazz-influenced drumwork is often dazzling, spurring guitarists Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds to unleash volleys of intricate, incendiary riffage. “Blood and Thunder,” “Iron Tusk,” and “I Am Ahab” couch their savagery in tight, cogent arrangements. At various points, the band slinks to a Southern boogie beat (“Aqua Dementia”), churns up a Far Eastern atmosphere (“Seabeast”), and descends into a dark, delirious swirl (“Hearts Alive”). Kelliher and Hinds spew out the album’s lyrics — heavy on battle cries and warrior laments — with a froth-mouthed desperation. The instrumental “Joseph Merrick” (named for the legendary Elephant Man) cools things down with somber acoustic guitars and distorted organ dabs.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Atlanta-based sludge/stoner/alternative metal outfit Mastodon formed in 1999 around the talents of guitarist Bill Kelliher, drummer Bränn Dailor, bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, and guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds. One of the more notable New Wave of American Heavy Metal acts, a genre spawned in the mid-'90s by bands like Pantera, Biohazard, and Machine Head, Mastodon's innovative, lyrically astute blend of progressive metal, grindcore, and hardcore helped position the band as one of the preeminent...
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