Sound — 10
This being my first real introduction to Mastodon, besides their impressive cover of Metallica's Orion, I was very impressed, and a bit put off at the beginning, but that soon faded. I'll start off by saying that Mastodon is the most original band I've heard to date. I can almost guarantee that we'll never hear anything like Mastodon. The riffs and melodies they put together may sound a bit awkward at first, not really fitting into the time structure, but after giving it a listen a few more times, you can really see where the band is taking the music, if you catch my drift. The vocals are pounding and intense on some songs (The Wolf is Loose, Crystal Skull) But as the album progresses, they move more into the realm of ethereal and haunting vocals (Colony of Birchmen).
Lyrics — 8
Generally, I don't listen to music for the lyrics. When I really took a second look at this CD and paid what attention I could to the lyrics, I think they fit perfectly with the music. Colony of Birchmen(my favorite song on the CD, close with Crystal Skull) Really shows the band's skill by slowly increasing the strength of the instruments, all the while the lyrics are becoming more and more dark, ending with a ripping guitar solo, just after the singer says "Take it now." Masterful, is all I can say.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, I prefer more straight-edge metal, the classic thrash stuff. I dabble in prog and such, and this is a great addition to my small group of prog metal. It's a bit awkward at first, because you can't really tell where the time is, particularly on Capillarian Crest(still a great song) but after a couple listens through, things start falling in place and you get a good feel for the music. The one thing I don't like on the album is on the song Circle of Cysquatch, the goofy vocal effect that comes in about a minute and a half through. It brings to mind the(what I think is) terrible remix of For Whom the Bell Tolls that was on the Spawn video game soundtrack. Still, a great album, worthy of anyone's $15.