Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Rock of Ages: Mastodon - "Blood and Thunder" (2004)

Metal is something I am new to. I have always listened to select tracks from bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica and such, but I never did the proper research. Metal may be the most intensely fractured genre I can think of. From nu-metal garbage to black metal scariness to stoner metal amazingness, it's a daunting task to jump into. Luckily for me, back in 2005, at the WEXP Radio Station, a little band from Atlanta, Georgia called Mastodon came steam rolling into my ears. Although I didn't instantly buy everything of theirs in site (that would come recently with Crack the Skye), I still was captivated. Their song "Blood and Thunder" was a brutal riff of thrash metal and lyrics about Melville's Moby Dick. And when I say thrashing riff, I mean one of the catchiest metal riffs you will ever hear. It starts off with the guitar and then the entire band joins the fury. Lyrically it's about Ahab's lust to hunt the fabled white whale, which the main chorus is a badass gang vocal screaming of "WHITE WHALE! HOLY GRAIL!" It's captivating in it's brutality and it conveys the kind of madness Melville infused into Ahab himself.

Mastodon break it down with easily one of the simplest yet most intense guitar riffs before the bridge surges like the surf around the ship itself. "Blood and Thunder" amps it up when singer and bassist Troy Sanders belts the blood curdling scream of a fantastic bridge:

"Split your lungs with blood and thunder
When you see the white whale
Break your backs and crack your oars men
If you wish to prevail

This ivory leg is what propels me
Harpoons thrust in the sky
Aim directly for his crooked brow
And look him straight in the eye"

All the elements together, the frantic and fantastic drums, the crunchy and thrashing riffs and the stellar metal vocals, make "Blood and Thunder" a revelation for metal music.

Up Next: Franz Ferdinand's incessantly addictive stomp

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