Mastodon : Hushed & Grim Review
Mastodon returns with their keenly anticipated ninth full-length album, Hushed & Grim, released on Reprise Records. Mastodon recorded the album in their hometown, collaborating with producer David Bottrill (Tool, Rush, Muse, Peter Gabriel), and Hushed & Grim is their most ambitious body of work. The album has a hefty 15 tracks styled in rock, psychedelia, punk, metal, alternative, and prog threaded together by these four musicians’ naturally expressive musical interplay. However, the album also has an atmosphere of loss, loneliness, and longing that permeates through the trio of cathartic vocals as they musically say goodbye to an old friend, confidant, and longtime manager, the late Nick John, by architecting a magnum opus that bears the influence of his eternal memory. The group is composed of Troy Sanders (bass/vocals), Brent Hinds (lead guitar/vocals), Bill Kelliher (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), and Brann Dailor (drums/vocals).
“Pain with an Anchor” sets the mood with a powerful rolling drum pattern and catchy riff. The three vocalists sing a series of emotive lyrics that build melodically as the music builds to eviscerating heights. The guitar work is also melodic and filled with rich tones and expressions. The instrumental interlude entices the auditory sense and is a witty expressionism of the band’s intrinsic songwriting, which has put them in a class of their own.
“Sickle and Peace” demonstrates the band’s outstanding command over the core elements of sculpting a song through the density of sound, change of feels, and orchestration. The light and deeply grooving verse is juxtaposed by a powerful rumble of the chorus. The concise guitar parts support each section with memorable riffs, and the pummeling bass and drums allow the song room to grow. The song form is rich in texture, and the singing follows the mood and textures.
Mastodon delivers with Hushed & Grim as the project is a set of songs that displays their capacity for songwriting, singing, and performing. Each selection finds the band boiling down to the essence of the song’s emotion lyrically. Musically, every riff on the album is memorable, and the complexity of their compositions is the adventure that Mastodon brings to the table. This is solidly executed heavy metal, and there is certainly plenty of textures and elements from other genres that makes Hushed & Grim mesmerizing.
Hushed and Grim
Novermber 9, 2021