Sound — 9
Leviathan is considered Mastodon's first true progressive metal album. This concept album based around the tale of Moby Dick and is a sonic journey that will leave you in a state of awe. Leviathan is an unrelenting assault of sludge riffage, guitar harmonies, and mind numbing tempo changes. The guitar work of Brent and Bill is stellar. These two share a bond and can create absolutely beautiful textures. But what really shines about this album is the drummer. Brann has to be one of the most unusual and interesting drummers of the last decade. He is technical but not to the point of being completely predictable and mechanic. He has a distinct groove and play fills that are absolutely insane. Unlike most of his drummer contemporaries, he doesn't rely on double bass all the time and uses it strategically. The bassist Troy is a great singer, but his bass playing is by-the-book. Brent occasionally lends his vocal ability and sings wonderfully. The band is wise to include his vocals more in subsequent albums. Every track on this album is a delight to listen to. The songs are each unique sounding and the band does not hesitate to delve into other genres such as thrash, southern rock, and psychedelic rock. Stand-out tracks include the opener "Blood And Thunder", "I Am Ahab", "Sea Beast", "Naked Burn" and "Aqua Dementia".
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics match the mood of the music perfectly. They put images in your mind and weave the tale without being overtly blatant. Many of the lyrics are cryptic and will take multiple listens to truly understand them. Troy sings the majority of the vocals on the album. He has a harsh voice that is able to deliver the energy that is unique to sludge. But as said earlier, Brent comes in at the perfect moments to sing the cleaner vocals. The entire band provides backing vocals to really beef up the vocals. It's refreshing to hear a metal band that puts as much effort into it's vocals as the actual unspoken music.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is a very tight album that should satisfy even the most stubborn of metal heads. Mastodon has a very distinguished sound that bloomed with this album. Leviathan was a big step into an even larger world of Progressive Metal. I recommend this album to all my friends who have not been enlightened by discovering this band already. This album has very few weak spots. My only gripe is the lack of keyboards. The last track features some organ work but not enough to satisfy. Fortunately they correct this in their later albums.