i finally came around to get a copy of the new masterpiece by mastadon. the new baby is entitled "emperor of sand" and is a concept album again which really made me see the return of high times of "crack the skye" or "leviathan". it is not like i wouldn't love the non-concept records "the hunter" and "once more 'round the sun", quite on the contrary. in other words: there is no such thing as a bad mastodon record. but the overshadowing myth of a lyrical concept adds a special attraction.
"emperor of sand" tells the story of a protagonist being sentenced to death by a ruler of the desert. he is cursed to wander the wastelands and experiences different stages of exhaustion, dehydration and disorientation. at the end the protagonist dies and is saved at the same time. with these metaphors the band deals with relatives of a few members developing cancer. a gripping concept in a fantastic setting. next to the lyrical common thread the musical part is outstanding.
to me it is a perfect mastodon album. not one weak song on the record. all killer, no filler. again the band worked with producer brendan o'brien. he already was the mediator between the band and recording techniques on "crack the skye" and did an awesome job back then. on "emperor of sand" i feel the same diversity and lust for detail. an artisitic collaboration which paid off completely. listen to the full album and convince yourself.
i got myself a copy that late because i thought and still think that there will be a coloured vinyl version of "emperor of sand" at some point. i tried to wait it out but failed becuase you know, it's mastodon. so of course i will pay for another colour copy when the time arrives. the artwork by alan brown/medusawolf is gorgeous. i love the hieronymus bosch-esque center piece of the gatefold cover. nice 180gr black vinyl housed in a sturdy, glossy gatefold sleeve. european edition. reprise records. 2017.