Once More ‘Round the Sun is Mastodon’s sixth studio album and the first after the stop-gap live opus Live at Brixton, which was a perfect capture of the aggression and immersive nature of a Mastodon show. As always with a Mastodon album, it is eclectic, intricate and yet insanely abrasive with the progressive delicate tone that they have always been noted for. Once More ‘Round the Sun has in places a distinct math-core feel brewed into the thick sonic sludge of the usual prog-rock/doomy Mastodon DNA.

Mastodon consistently seem to re-evaluate after each album, changing tact and forking off their evolutionary track, evolving into a new monster [Mammoth] from hugely elaborate and sprawling concept albums, to the lean and malicious later recordings. From the start, “Tread Lightly” brushes aside any dust left collecting from the 3 years since The Hunter was released, with its rasping pounding beat.

“The Motherload” synchronises harmonised vocal choruses with a cruise through 5 minutes of pacey visceral drumming and shredding guitars. “Chimes At Midnight” is more akin to Mastodon circa Call of the Mastodon, with energy and obliterating drums with endless guitar riffs, then moving through the eerie, echoing resonance harmonising in “Asleep in the Deep” to “Feast your Eyes,” which is a ripping 3 minutes sprint that pulls you along screaming through the lava-filled cretaceous smog of an extinction level event.

The punk band The Coathangers’ guest appearance on “Aunt Lisa” is reminiscent to the “kiddy” chorus in Faith No More’s “Be Aggressive,” but with a hint more bile (“Heh Ho, Let’s Fucking Go!”) and is destined to be a pit filler. “Diamond in the Witch House” is a more ponderous offering, but tracks through almost 8 minutes with menace.

There is a definite ‘punch’ to “Once More ‘Round the Sun,” a stepped evolution from the sometimes wayward “The Hunter,” one which retains the directness the band sought to put into their work, but one which also seems to resolve some of the issues there. Mastodon waste no time in launching full-force into things, whereas the band of old always sounded somewhat like a lumbering beast, snorting and striding confidently through murky mythological sceneries. Here, they go straight for the throat.

Track Listing:

01. Tread Lightly
02. The Motherload
03. High Road
04. Once More ‘Round The Sun
05. Chimes At Midnight
06. Asleep In The Deep
07. Feast Your Eyes
08. Aunt Lisa
09. Ember City
10. Halloween
11. Diamond In The Witch House

Run Time: 54:08
Release Date: June 24, 2014

Check out the song “High Road”