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Review of the Album "Emperor of Sand" by American Progressive Metal Band Mastodon

Updated on January 29, 2018

Emperor of Sand Album Cover

The album's cover shows a skeleton dressed as a warrior and it is standing in the middle of a desert with various statues. The cover also shows various rock formations.
The album's cover shows a skeleton dressed as a warrior and it is standing in the middle of a desert with various statues. The cover also shows various rock formations.

About the Band Mastodon and its Musical Influences

Mastodon is a progressive metal band from Atlanta, Georgia that I really underestimated! These guys are pretty good especially with their latest album called Emperor of Sand. I think what I hear on this album are Gothic metal influences such as the Finnish band To/Die/For and a Harem Scarem influence in the song called Show Yourself.

The First Song Sultan's Curse Shows the Talent of Mastodon

However, the first song called Sultan’s Curse is melodic and has a Kreator style influence. When you are tired and lost and can’t find a person to give you that push to get going, an authority figure is what you sometimes need and the song is about seeking the Sultan’s help as the warrior falls in love with his daughters.

The Song Sultan's Curse

The Songs Show Yourself and Precious Stones What are They About? Why are They Important?

The groovy song Show Yourself is a song about wanting someone to show their true colors and what they are really made of. Only they can save themselves from ruin as long as they follow a path that promotes fairness, equality, and justice. When we think we are safe, sometimes we are not as safe as we think we are and even vocalist and guitarist Brent Hinds mentions this in the song. The song called Precious Stones has a very important message that we can all use to our advantage. The message is simple yet obvious. We should not waste our time for time is a precious resource that we will never get back if we waste it.

As the Album Continues There is a Lacuna Coil and Malpractice Influence

The song Steambreather has a Karmacode era Lacuna Coil influence in it because of the tone, heaviness, and the fact that it is slower in the riffing. The song is about someone that has no idea of their identity. They wonder who they are and even when they try to reflect on this, they come up with no answers. Mastodon musically is similar to Finnish progressive metal band Malpractice. However, Brent Hinds is easier to understand than Mika Uronen. The song called Ancient Kingdom uses some fantasy style lyrical themes as the song is about following orders that the sultan of the kingdom gives otherwise you risk being ostracized and shamed. As the rain falls, a warrior feels that he has pain in his mind. It is said that only a valiant effort will lead him to safety.

Clandestiny: a Very Philosophical Kind of Song

Clandestiny is a song about having the trust and faith that you will be free from harm if you hang around the right crowd, the right people. And it is said that if we give our lives to GOD, HE will make sure that we are taken care of. This is a philosophical or religious way to look at the subject but the band brings up this theme for thought.

The Last Two Songs How are They?

The song Scorpion Breath starts with a progressive guitar part similar to Italy’s Eldritch. The album ends with the almost 8 minute long song called Jaguar God. It is a song about someone who lives by the woods. He is told that he is not bad but he is looked as a vagabond, a suspect and a person that is on the run. The song starts out softer after many progressive style rock songs.

The Song Called Precious Stones

Final Thoughts About Emperor of Sand

Overall, Emperor of Sand is not only one of the best albums of 2017 but it is a great melodic album from these guys and who knows, maybe American metal is ready to make a comeback? The album is a very strong statement that there are good American metal bands left even if it is not as many as before.

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The Song Show Yourself Played LIVE on the Jimmy Kimmel Show

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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