Blood Mountain (album)

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Blood Mountain
Studio album by Mastodon
Released September 11, 2006
Recorded December 2005 – April 2006 at Robert Lang Studios, Studio Litho, and EK Studios, Seattle, Washington
Genre Sludge metal, progressive metal, stoner metal, alternative metal, heavy metal
Length 68:09
Label Warner Bros.
Reprise
Producer Matt Bayles
Mastodon
Mastodon chronology
Call of the Mastodon
(2006)
Blood Mountain
(2006)
Crack the Skye
(2009)
Singles from Blood Mountain
  1. "Crystal Skull"
    Released: 2006
  2. "Capillarian Crest"
    Released: 2006
  3. "The Wolf is Loose"
    Released: 2006
  4. "Colony of Birchmen"
    Released: March 12, 2007

Blood Mountain is the third full-length studio album by American metal band Mastodon. The recording of the album finished in April 2006 and it was released on September 11 in the UK and September 12, 2006 in North America. The album in full could be streamed at the band's MySpace page a few days prior to the release.

Like Mastodon's previous studio work Leviathan, Blood Mountain is a concept album. According to bassist Troy Sanders, "It's about climbing up a mountain and the different things that can happen to you when you're stranded on a mountain, in the woods, and you're lost. You're starving, hallucinating, running into strange creatures. You're being hunted. It's about that whole struggle."[1] Guitarist Bill Kelliher considers this album to represent the earth element.[2] At the time, bassist Troy Sanders called it "sonically the best album we have done." The band's emphasis on clean, melodic vocals instead of the harsher vocals that the band used on their early work continues to grow on this album.

The album includes guest appearances by Scott Kelly of Neurosis on "Crystal Skull", Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age on "Colony of Birchmen", as well as keyboard player Isaiah "Ikey" Owens and singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta on "Pendulous Skin" and "Siberian Divide", respectively.

Story notes[edit]

  • The main character is in search of the Crystal Skull which he hopes to place at the top of Blood Mountain.[1] In the making of DVD, the Crystal Skull is supposed to remove "the reptilian brain" causing its owner the ability to achieve the next step of human evolution.[3]
  • In an interview with bass guitarist Troy Sanders it was revealed that a Cysquatch is "a one-eyed Sasquatch that can see into the future."[1] The Cysquatch warns the main character of the following dangers during the journey for the Crystal Skull.[4]
  • Several of the lyrics in "The Wolf is Loose" refer to chapter titles and themes in Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." The main character may be an example of a monomythical hero.

Track details[edit]

The album's last song, "Pendulous Skin", contains a secret "fan letter" from Josh Homme, who provided guest vocals on the album. At 21:25, he says: "Dear Mastodon: My name is Joshua. I'm a big fan from Southern Cal. Really diggin' on your new scene. That's why I hope you don't mind when I got your new demos for your new CD, I had to sing parts on them and send them to you as a tribute. I hope you're not mad about me also uploading them onto the Internet. But hell, it seems like you guys are so cool that you might dig something just like that. Sincerely, your fan, Joshua M. Homme. P.S., Keep it real...REAL (studio effects are used)....*laughter*....REAL." When asked about the message in a Pitchfork Media interview, Homme said, "I was just fucking with them. Then they asked if they could put that on the end of their record, and I was like, 'Yeah.' I did the vocal [for "Colony of Birchmen"] and sent it back to them, and that message was before the song started."[5] The song itself ends at 5:03, followed by over 15 minutes of silence, then Homme's message.

The title "Colony of Birchmen" is a homage to the song "The Colony of Slippermen" by progressive rock group Genesis, whom the band's drummer, Brann Dailor, has been known to appreciate.[6]

Music videos for "The Wolf Is Loose", "Colony of Birchmen", "Sleeping Giant" and "Capillarian Crest" have been made. Although the video for "Capillarian Crest" is made up of live footage, the studio version of the song is played. The track "Sleeping Giant" is available as downloadable content for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, and "Colony of Birchmen" is an on-disc track in Rock Band 2.

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 82/100[7]
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk 93%[8]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[9]
The A.V. Club A[10]
Blabbermouth.net 8/10[11]
Drowned in Sound 10/10[12]
Pitchfork Media 8.7/10.0[13]
PopMatters 10/10[14]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars
Stylus magazine B−[15]

Blood Mountain was released to high critical praise. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received a score of 82, based on 24 reviews.[7] Total Guitar magazine voted it its Number One album of 2006, and magazines such as Metal Hammer and Kerrang! thought it is every bit as good as the band's previous album Leviathan, if not better. The album has also charted in many websites and magazines 2006 countdowns. The band's first single from the album, "Capillarian Crest", was ranked No. 27 in Rolling Stone magazine Top 100 songs of 2006.[16] Blood Mountain was ranked 9th in the Rolling Stone Top 50 Albums of 2006,[17] and 42nd in Pitchfork Media's Top 50 Albums of 2006.[18]

Blood Mountain was voted the best album of 2006 in the UK Metal Hammer magazine end-of year polls, as well as top in Total Guitar magazine's top 50 albums of 2006. It was also rated the 17th greatest metal album of all time by a countdown recently carried out by gaming website IGN.[19]

Commercial[edit]

Blood Mountain entered the Billboard 200 best selling album charts at No. 32, with 24,000 sold copies, marking it the third highest debut in the band's career before Crack the Skye and The Hunter.[20] The album is also one of the band's highest selling effort to date. By December 2006, the album had sold more than 65,000 copies in the U.S. alone according to the band's website,[21] by March 2009, the album had sold 150,000 copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen Soundscan,[22] and by September 2010 it had sold 176,000 copies.[23]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Mastodon

No. Title Length
1. "The Wolf Is Loose"   3:34
2. "Crystal Skull" (Feat. Scott Kelly) 3:27
3. "Sleeping Giant"   5:36
4. "Capillarian Crest"   4:25
5. "Circle of Cysquatch"   3:19
6. "Bladecatcher" (Instrumental) 3:20
7. "Colony of Birchmen" (Feat. Josh Homme) 4:19
8. "Hunters of the Sky"   3:52
9. "Hand of Stone"   3:30
10. "This Mortal Soil"   5:00
11. "Siberian Divide" (Feat. Cedric Bixler-Zavala) 5:32
12. "Pendulous Skin" (Feat. Isaiah "Ikey" Owens) 22:15
Total length:
68:09

Personnel[edit]

Mastodon
Guest musicians
Technical personnel

Billboard charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Year Chart Position
2006 The Billboard 200 32

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
2006 Colony of Birchmen US Mainstream Rock 32

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lampert, Eva (April 26, 2006). "Beware of the Cysquatch On New Mastodon Album". Chart. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  2. ^ "MASTODON (TROY SANDERS/BILL KELIHER) INTERVIEW". Terrorverlag GbR Musik Magazin. October 11, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2007. 
  3. ^ The Making Of Blood Mountain DVD Chapter 8
  4. ^ Track 5: Circle Of Cysquatch
  5. ^ Pitchfork: QOTSA's Homme Talks New LP, Motivations, Pirates
  6. ^ Worley, Gail Adventures On Blood Mountain: An Interview with Brann Dailor of Mastodon Ink19.com (February 2008). Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  7. ^ a b "Blood Mountain – Mastodon". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  8. ^ "Mastodon – Blood Mountain – Album Review". AbsolutePunk. 
  9. ^ "Blood Mountain – Mastodon". Allmusic. 
  10. ^ "Mastodon: Blood Mountain". The A.V. Club. 
  11. ^ "CD Reviews". Blabbermouth.net. 
  12. ^ http://drownedinsound.com/releases/7758/reviews/1138514-mastodon-blood-mountain
  13. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/9426-blood-mountain/
  14. ^ "Mastodon: Blood Mountain". PopMatters. 
  15. ^ "Mastodon – Blood Mountain – Review". Stylus. 
  16. ^ "Rolling Stone Magazine". Top 100 songs of 2006. 
  17. ^ The Top 50 Albums of 2006 : Rolling Stone
  18. ^ Top 50 Albums of 2006 | Pitchfork
  19. ^ IGN: Top 25 Metal Albums
  20. ^ "Mastodon's 'Crack The Skye' Lands At No. 11 On BILLBOARD Chart". blabbermouth.net. April 1, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  21. ^ mastodonrocks.com
  22. ^ "MASTODON: 'Divinations' Video Available". BlabberMouth. 
  23. ^ Grein, Paul (September 15, 2010). "The Dulcet Tones of Bruno Mars". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved April 22, 2011.