1) “Bullhead’s Psalm”
Tucker Phillips: The guitars were far away but now they’re close.
Jackson Scott: This is the album that made me shut up about how much I generally hate virtuosity in music. And learned to love the bomb.
Michael Frett: I was going to say, this sounds like formally trained guitar playing.
TP: Isn’t virtuosity usually a good thing? I could understand not liking theatricality in that sense though.
MF: Pretty technical.
JS: They are like all classically technical.
TP: I don’t like showing off, I’ll give you that.
JS: Yeah. That’s what I mean.
MF: I like technical playing, just not for the sake of technical playing.
JS: Yeah, but a lot of stuff seems that way to me.
2) “The Sweetest Curse”
TP: The nice is gone.
MF: THRASH. HEADBANGING.
TP: Where am I.
MF: \m/ >.< \m/
TP: Why is everybody’s hair so long.
JS: Why is there egg all over that lady’s boobs?
TP: It symbolizes how hard-boiled this guy’s voice is.
MF: I have puns for this. But, for the sake of maturity, I’m just going to keep those to myself.
TP: This toes that growly line without crossing over into the nether-realm for me.
JS: Natch. This is also the part where I reverse your argument and say that I don’t like virtuosity but love theatricality because theatricality frames virtuosity as having a larger meaning I think.
MF: Guys, this sounds like my Gameboy. I love that tone.
TP: You’ve got one hell of a Gameboy. Must be a Color.
JS: Because I love the way that the riffs are repeated in this song.
MF: *Generic reference to Pokemon Gold and Silver*
TP: That vocal sustain is working for me, I tell you what.
MF: One of my favorite metal tropes: when the lead guitars take over melodically.
JS: It all sounds so purposeful and not just like they’re reading sheet music.
MF: One of my other favorite metal tropes: folksy guitar outros.
JS: Gotta guiltily agree with that.
MF: I feel no guilt about that whatsoever. Pretty in love with those outros.
3) “Jake Leg”
JS: Drums. Thud Thud Thud. Those are some wicked scales.
TP: I love how twisty this guitar is getting. And tremelo-y. And now fuzzy!
MF: Those are beautiful scales. I also like that the drums aren’t falling into that in-humane thrashing/double-bassing that so much metal feels a need to use.
JS: I like me some Converge, so I won’t comment. But yeah. Tech drums ftw.
MF: I’m in love with the guitars on this track.
TP: This is what I always expect Mastodon to sound like but it never really lives up.
JS: I kind of agree. Except on “Colony of Birchmen.”
MF: Mastodon’s one of those artists I want to check out but just haven’t.
JS: You’re not missing a ton. Basically just this plus Moby Dick.
MF: I feel like I’d enjoy this plus Moby Dick.
TP: Hell yeah you would. Cuz blood and thunder.
JS: Baroness is way more varied.
TP: But yeah, this is way more interesting than any Mastodon song I’ve heard.
MF: I feel obligated to point out, again, that I love the guitars in this. That finale was perfecto!
JS: Do you like acoustic guitars?
TP: Do you have a soul?
MF: Acoustic guitars and I go way back. Love me acoustic guitars.
4) “Steel that Sleeps the Eye”
JS: #singing #harmoniez
TP: #wind. I kinda miss the rawk. Never thought I’d say it.
MF: This has old-world folksy vibes that I’m enjoying. Pretty melodies and whatnot.
JS: Yeah, this song works better as an interlude.
TP: I can hear the rawk coming.
TP: Its thunderous footfalls echo through the halls. Hark!
MF: That’s so ominous and awesome.
TP: The music swells…and Master Chief is there.
5) “Swollen and Halo”
TP: OK I’m back on board. Both feet.
JS: Walk the plank.
MF: Tempo changes. Tempo changes for days.
JS: Surprise, it’s just the last song but rawk.
TP: And very much so!
MF: That last song led into this song so well. Built it up very nicely.
JS: Indeed. The sequencing on this album is bonkers good. It’s honestly like one of the best sequenced metal albums ever in my book.
TP: I’m just kinda rolling along with this drummer. Dude is goin’ crazy. Take me with you, crazy drummer man.
MF: The guitar player’s got me hooked on those leads.
JS: I love the harmonies on this album.
MF: I haven’t heard one thing out of place or worth disliking on this album.
TP: That one snare hit was a little dodgy. I hope someone got fired for that blunder.
JS: If it weren’t so steeped in fantasy, I’d call it angular guitar playing, but I more imagine a spirally magic whirlpool.
MF: Metal’s Charybdis grabbing hold. Not letting go.
JS: Oh no! Let go me’leg! It got me Jake Leg.
TP: Poor Me’leg, never stood a chance.
MF: JAKE! JAKE, NO!
6) “Ogeechee Hymnal”
MF: Anybody else just wikipedia Ogeechee?
TP: Too busy wikipedia’ing Charybdis.
JS: See, this is what I mean when I say theatricality. The reprisal of themes over and over is what makes this album.
MF: I’m liking their reprises, though.
TP: I’d argue that it is in fact the hella sick riffs. Or those snare hits.
JS: It’s not just one thing, goshah.
MF: Seems to be adding things thematically to the album as a whole. Those citadel guitars, though!
MF: Beautiful noise.
TP: Yeah, this is working for me right here mmhmm. It’s like some kinda crazy hymnal.
7) “A Horse Called Golgotha”
MF: Oh damn.
TP: Someone help that….thing!
MF: Whatever the hell just happened in that intro is my favorite.
JS: They never miss a beat. Dayum.
TP: How do you come up with this many ideas for melodies and such? Gosh darned metalheadz.
MF: Ask the Metallica guys and their supposed 1200 unused riffs.
JS: I have no idea. And the thing that blows me away is that it’s clearly not just improvy like masterbatory riffing because the harmonies suggest that this is ALL composed.
TP: I’ve got 1300 unused riffs! But, uh, you’d better like atonal stuff.
MF: I’m liking the trade off between the electric and the acoustic guitar.
MF: It’s making the guitar player in me geek out pretty hardcore.
JS: Suppress it!
MF: This is some of the most dynamic playing I’ve heard in ages.
TP: This is making the non-guitar player in me feel ashamed.
8) “O’er Hell and Hide”
MF: That’s some pretty technical playing they’ve got going on.
MF: AND CUE THE RAWK
TP: PUT DOWN THAT ACOUSTIC GUITAR WE MUST GO TO WAR
MF: Sounds like stampeding horses there.
JS: BLOO’Y ‘ELL ‘N ‘IDE. Groovy. Spoken word guys. Spoken word.
MF: Crack that whip! Again, the leads are just so captivating. And that drum groove.
JS: Probably the only guitars I’d use as dumb of an expression as “adventurous” to describe.
MF: They’re going places, man.
JS: Make me look bad.
TP: Metal isn’t supposed to sound like this. I’m not supposed to like it.
JS: Wub wub noise.
TP: Must be the wubs.
9) “War, Wisdom and Rhyme”
JS: Why is this so good?
MF: I love when those guitars go high.
JS: You would.
TP: Nice little breather there.
MF: There are so many things going on in this song.
TP: War is hell.
JS: Wisdom is swell.
TP: Rhyme is, well…
MF: Do tell?
TP: I’m telling you guys, these drums.
JS: And scene. The fact that they keep up with the guitars is enough.
10) “Blackpowder Orchard”
MF: You got your folk musics on my metal album…
JS: We gon’ have erselves a hootenanny.
TP: JEBEDIAH, GET ME MY AXE
MF: God damn that tone is gorgeous.
TP: TONIGHT, WE REND
11) “The Gnashing”
MF: This is the nicest gnashing that I’ve ever stumbled in on.
JS: They breathing life into genres I’d never thought I’d ever care about.
MF: Honestly, I’m really not getting the classic rock vibe.
TP: Me either, but this is still killer.
MF: This is the cheeriest bit of thrash metal I’ve ever heard though. Okay, I’m getting it a little now.
TP: I don’t know much classic rock that sounds like this, but I wish I did. Actually getting kind of a Shellac vibe.
MF: But more of specific classic rock songs rather than the genre as a whole.
JS: It sure sounds old though. Like, sepia tone n’ everything. Music videos all like old cars and everything. Denim. I think it’s because it’s so big. It embraces really moving phrases that I think aren’t embraced anymore because of irony.
12) “Bullhead’s Lament”
JS: The THEME again. #fullcircle
TP: Psh, this is totally just a Baroness rip-off. GET YOUR OWN IDEAS BARONESS!
TP: Cryin’ shame for such a talented band.
MF: This is exactly how I was hoping an album like this would go out.
JS: What a terrible album. #defensemechanismsup
MF: I mean, never mind?
MF: Those guitars just had to say goodbye
JS: Real talk: that sound.
MF: I’ll see you soon, pretty guitars.
JS: And the lament made it to heaven. Oh hey NIN.
MF: What was that, a theremin?
TP: The guitars have left this Earth to return to their better, more rawking planet.
MF: They’ll come back though. They always do.
TP: We can only hope.