Mastodon are a band who, almost without anybody noticing, have risen to become one of the most important bands in modern metal. Two things are interesting about this in relation to ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’; firstly, that in some regards, this new album fills the same niche as Wolfmother once did, and second, that, for all this, they bear more than a passing resemblance to cult Leeds metal eccentrics Humanfly.
That is to say, of course, that despite becoming one of the biggest metal bands around, Mastodon manage to keep much of the same edge as an underground band. The rushing pace of opener ‘Tread Lightly’ attests to this, bulldozing breakdowns and solos in its path with verve and pure fucking riffery.
‘Chimes At Midnight’ is a solid atmospheric rocker that develops quickly into Sabbath-like levels of melodrama and rapid-fire licks, while ‘Feast Your Eyes’ is an absolute joy of cascading riffs; it’s just a shame that the opening riff is used so fleetingly, as it’s absolutely spine-chilling.
There’s the faintest whiff of a lull in the latter half of the record, but luckily ‘Halloween’ picks the energy back up with a stampeding rush of phased guitars and bass hooks.
Ultimately ‘Once More ‘Round The Sun’ may not be as brilliant as last album ‘The Hunter’, but it’s a fine piece of work and shows the band are not only ready for, but moreover deserving of their success. They’ve kept the quality high and the riffs flowing where others might have faltered - no mean feat.