THE RECORD: Mastodon- Once More ‘Round The Sun– Reprise 2014
The sixth studio album from Georgia’s Mastodon is out! The first track warns the listener to “Tread Lightly”, and it does start off with a quiet string section. But this is only a warning shot, to prepare the listener for the monsters that are about to come out for the next 54 minutes.
There are definitely a lot of progressive rock elements to this one. I know a lot of metal heads looking for something harder may get disappointed by this, but as someone whose favorite band is Rush, I totally dig it. It’s especially evident in songs such as “Chimes At Midnight” and “Aunt Lisa” with their dizzing, swirling guitar progressions. The latter actually harkens to the Ramones, with gang vocals (from the Coathangers and Gary Lindsey) shouting “Hey ho, let’s fucking go”. Some might consider these influences to be all over the place, but for me, it brings together all my favorite rock genres in an original way.
“Asleep In The Deep” brings in more guests. Valient Himself of Valient Thorr provides backup vocals, and synthesizers from Ikey Owens, who is known for his work with The Mars Volta and At The Drive-In.
“Halloween” isn’t a Misfits cover but a Mastodon-Original guitar-riff driven ride with death on a “moon-soaked night”. They had me at the line, “I couldn’t tame that beast with a handful of meat”.
“Diamond In The Witch House” ends the record on a 7 minute sludge fest. Fitting, considering it features guest vocals from Neurosis’ Scott Kelly.
The music video for the first single “High Road” is incredibly delightful. It can accurately be described as a LARP Karate Kid. There are fake swords, badass grandparents, and (spoiler alert) bullies getting their butts kicked. It makes me really happy to watch.
THE BEER: Sleepytime Saison- Captain Lawrence Brewery, Elmsford, NY
Don’t be fooled by the name; you definitely do not want to sleep on this beer. Brewed with chamomile, it has a touch of sweetness, but a lot of nice roasted malt flavor. Pours dark in color with a creamy head.
According to the website, it is a pilot batch. Not sure if this means it could be a one-off brew, or if they are still working on it. Regardless, it’s a tasty beer that I hope to see more often!
THE PAIRING: I just tried this beer at the brewery, and I loved it. Saisons are really growing on me because there are so many different ones, and like beer in general, I just had to try a lot of them until I found a few that I enjoyed. I guess you could say the same for myself and metal, as well. Sure, I grew up with the classics and bands that I just loved immediately, like Maiden, Motorhead, and Type O Negative. However, there was a good span of time where I was not digging metal as much as I am now. Mastodon helped to show me that there was awesomeness to be found, with the epic concept album of Leviathan really getting me following them.
I think that Once More ‘Round The Sun can do for non-metal fans today what beers like Sleepytime did for me for saisons. The album is listenable, the beer is drinkable. The album works as both a singular work in itself as well as a collection of single-worthy songs. Similarly, this saison works as something dark and malty to relax at the end of a work day, or as a nearly-session beer for an evening at a metal show.