Review: Mastodon – Remission

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Genre: Sludge/Prog Metal
Released: May 28, 2002
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: Underneath The Waves

By: Kris Kotlarik

Yes, this is an Underneath The Waves feature. Your eyes do not deceive you; I had never heard this full album before picking up the latest reissue that just got released on August 5. I first became familiar with Mastodon when Crack The Skye was released, and have found myself liking their following albums less with each release. Plus Skye had a song about the Karelia region. What’s not to like?

So it only seemed logical to go back to Mastodon’s debut release. My only familiarity with this album came from the March Of The Fire Ants EP, which featured the title track, as well as “Crusher Destroyer” and a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Emarald.” I’ve seen a lot of debate from Mastodon fans about which of their albums is the best (spoiler alert: it’s not Once More ‘Round The Sun), and Remission should be at the forefront of such discussions. 

Every song on here that is less than five minutes is fantastic, especially “Burning Man.” The main standout on these tracks is the hyper-technical drumming which somehow manages to blend in with a much less complex melody. The longer tracks, while still good, have a tendency to drag for a section or two; this was most noticeable in the beginning of “Ol’e Nessie” and most of “Trilobite.”

The final proper track, “Elephant Man,” is a slower instrumental that is still captivating. It’s a perfect follow-up to the aggressive (and weirdly named) “Mother Puncher.” The bonus track on this reissue, the aforementioned “Emerald,” is a great way to end things and is a well-executed cover. 

Some Mastodon fans will say that it was all downhill from here; I’m not seeing that argument. They evolved their sound over time and it sounds vastly different from what it did here, but I wouldn’t call that a decline. I would say the decline started with The Hunter, but that’s a review for another day.

Overall: If you’re looking for groovy, heavy riffs with excellent drumming, you’ve come to the right place.

Rating: 4.0*



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