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CD review: Mastodon’s ‘Once More ’Round the Sun’

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Annie Zaleski

Three and a half stars

Mastodon Once More ’Round the Sun

After nearly 15 years together, Mastodon still delivers a few surprises on each of its studio albums, and Once More ’Round the Sun is no exception. Despite its weary-sounding name, the collection freshens up the group’s Black Sabbath vocal mannerisms, snarled riffs and churning tempos. That’s largely achieved by some obvious nods to the band’s influences—the title track gives a songwriting credit to Thin Lizzy’s “The Cowboy Song,” while “Asleep in the Deep” incorporates Deftones’ post-rock fog—and subtle sonic detailing. “Halloween” boasts an ominous psychedelic halo around its choruses; the proggy “Aunt Lisa” features cheerleader-from-hell chanting from fellow Atlanta band The Coathangers; and the lo-fi ’80s metal karaoke album-closer “Diamond in the Witch House” has an appearance by Neurosis’ Scott Kelly. Above all, Once More ’Round the Sun confirms that the furious-but-palatable rock direction Mastodon took on 2011’s The Hunter continues apace—and that’s certainly not a bad thing.

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