Now, two and a half years after the release of Gods of the Earth, the improvements on their third album Warp Riders are striking. This is a much tighter, more musically versatile band than we’d all gotten used to hearing, they’ve made enormous improvements in the vocal department, and best of all, the band has ditched the doom metal in favor of a broader, all-encompassing sound that embraces everything from 1970s hard tock, to Southern rock, to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, to even a subtle helping of funk. Toss in the fresh perspective of producer Matt Bayles, who takes over the reins after singer/guitarist JD Cronise handled the previous two albums, and you’ve got a winning combination.
Concept albums are a strange beast, and in a world with an ever decreasing attention span, they're becoming something of an endangered species. In a few years, they'll almost certainly be spoken of in cryptozoological terms, which will probably please Mastodon, because they could then write a concept album about concept albums. Such a scenario is a few years off - at the moment such items are still sneaking out and giving bands an arena in which to indulge their fantasies.
On Warp Riders, that same approach seems overly compressed and washed out, the riffs themselves just not connecting as hard even though the band is playing them the same way they always have.