Sound — 9
The sound is definitely something new to experience from such a hard-hitting and progressive heavy band, though "The Hunter" also experimented progressive metal with more vocal-driven tunes. This album delves into that more and even gives it a darker mood. I think they actually experiment with more effects this time around, the tremolo in the title track was awesome and I envisioned the splatter paint on the center of the actual album art if you know what I'm talking about. However, I feel as if they have lost a little bit of them in the end. Don't get me wrong, they've never put out a bad record (yet). But some of the songs do sound a little "streamlined" and not very true to the Mastodon sound.
Lyrics — 7
Since this is a progressive metal album, I don't tend to pay too much attention to the lyrics. However, Brann Dailor said himself these songs are more "vocal-driven" so I have been paying a little more attention this time. A lot of the choruses aren't actually half-bad, I actually didn't really need to grow on any of them, I was sucked in right away. Mastodon has really proved themselves to be quite versatile, as previously shown on "The Hunter," but again, I do feel that musicianship was held back this time, which isn't very satisfying for the progressive mind.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this album was very solid, as expected from Mastodon. I really loved "Tread Lightly" (great opener), "The Motherload," "High Road"... Well all of them except "Diamonds in the Witch's House." That song had WAY to much hype and it ended up blowing in my face, in my opinion, it's Mastodon's first filler ever. I was expecting it to be much, much more "spooky" if you know what I mean, which you get in the beginning, but then ends up to be repetitive in the end and felt didn't represent the song too well, honestly, I felt like Scott Kelly shouldn't have done it at all, but I know they always bring him so I respect that greatly.
I bought the vinyl and CD, so it explains it's worth to me, I would even buy the vinyl again if it was stolen (I love the art, I'd buy it again in deluxe edition if I have to). It doesn't stand against "Crack the Skye," but I'd might actually listen to it over "Blood Mountain" even, but that has yet to be seen.