Mastodon’s latest album, “Emperor of the Sand,” is a masterpiece. Being the seventh venture for the group, one would expect them to have lost their touch or some other nonsense. This is not the case at all.
The writing for the album, penned by the band itself, is nothing short of spectacular. The story of the album follows a man that has been sentenced to death and must wander the desert until he dies, but at the same time is saved. The lyrics were inspired by friends and family of the band going through cancer. Writing deep and relatable lyrics has always been a talent of Mastodon, and this album does everything that the band has done in prior releases, but better.
“Time is a very big theme of the album,” Brann Dailor said. “How much time do we have left? What are we doing with our time?” Dailor is drums, bass guitar, lead and backing vocals for the band. He said this is a interview with Rolling Stone prior to the album’s release.
Regarding the instrumental aspect of the album, guitarist, Bill Kelliher said it best in an interview with Guitarmania, “It’s a little bit of the same as the last album, but I think it goes even deeper in certain areas — a couple of more psychedelic parts, a little more technical parts. There are a couple of new places we haven’t gone before. So it’s just kind of a continuation of the last record to me, but even deeper.”
To elaborate on that, the track “Jaguar God” was a pinnacle point of the album. It featured everything mentioned above. It felt right to listen to this album and just let the psyche drift away. Imagining things that bring about happy feelings. The whole album has that vibe to it, but besides “Jaguar God” there were a few other amazing tracks, those being “Show Yourself” and “Andromeda.”
Another thing that could put this album at album of the year so far is the guest vocalists that were featured on the album. Those included Scott Kelly and Kevin Sharp of Neurosis and Brutal Truth respectively. The subtle nod to those two bands readily apparent in the tracks they are featured on.
Mastodon did everything right on this album. It is amazing and deserves a perfect score.