Emperor of Sand

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2017 Ratings: #365 / 721
User Score
Based on 109 ratings
2017 Ratings: #433
March 31, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Reprise / Label
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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
The Line of Best Fit

While Emperor of Sand is amongst their heaviest, proggiest material to date, it’s also the quartet at their most emotionally bare. Mastodon have dug deep into their darkest moments and have surfaced with one of the best albums of their career.

80
Sputnikmusic

They have embraced mainstream success in the best way that would be possible, by sticking to a high concept and shredding their way through an emotional backdrop while displaying their instrumental virtuosity amazingly.

80
Exclaim!

Drawing as much from their past as well as their present, Mastodon refuse to go extinct just shy of two decades of music-making. Emperor of Sand is at once emotionally powerful and musically arresting.

80
NME

Mastodon have written the most personal album of their career, and in doing so perhaps their most pertinent too.

80
Drowned in Sound

A balanced and well measured offering that might not revolutionise the heavy music landscape just yet, but positions them very well indeed for future greatness.

80
Alternative Press

Remission this ain't, but with the melodies of killer songs like the highlight “Ancient Kingdom,” Mastodon prove they just keep moving ahead with this enveloping and rewarding album.

76
Pitchfork

Full of melodic singing and zig-zagging riffs, the new Mastodon LP reins-in the Atlanta metal band’s technical abilities without watering them down—though it smooths out some of their angular edges.

75
Consequence of Sound

From the incendiary solos of “Word to the Wise” to the evocatively personal/universal lyrics, Emperor of Sand proves cathartic for the listener and, hopefully, for the band members as well.

75
GIGsoup

The album seamlessly blends elements of heavy alternative metal, classic-rock and that trippy vibe you just can't quite quantify.

73
Paste

While it won’t fill the void left all those years ago in the mighty Leviathan’s wake and features a few gratingly saccharine moments, Emperor of Sand is full of passionate performances and serves as one of Mastodon’s most surprising and relatable releases yet.

70
Rolling Stone

Mostly, they find a middle ground that pays homage to the burly heft of Mastodon past and the heady rock they've always aspired to make.

70
PopMatters

With Emperor of Sand, Mastodon remains one of the most distinctive bands of its ilk, but like a beach that’s been combed over many times before, there’s precious little left to discover this time around.

70
AllMusic

In order to be true to themselves, Mastodon had to make Emperor of Sand at this time. There was no other option. As such, its urgency, sophistication, and emotional heft make it a necessary entry in their catalog.

60
The Guardian

Mastodon fans seem to come in two forms: disgruntled diehards who prefer “the early stuff” and an increasingly huge mainstream rock contingent who will doubtless be delighted by the straightforwardly melodic fare that makes up much of the band’s seventh album.

60
Clash

All too often 'Emperor Of Sand' lacks an identity of its own. Strangely this is most evident when its creators attempt to placate their older fans.

50
A.V. Club

Emperor Of Sand is both progressive and regressive, as Mastodon takes two different parts of its past and slaps them together. And while it occasionally works, more often than not Mastodon just sounds confused.

40
The Needle Drop

On Emperor of Sand, Mastodon pads out rehashed ideas from their last several albums with alt-rock choruses that went out of style with the 90s.

65
Yawn
daan
80
Solid album with powerful, heavy riffs as well as a lot of emotional melodies. A lot less heavy than their previous records, but they definitely took the right step with their evolving sound. It's still sludgy and progressive like you're used to, it's Mastodon through and through. I've come to appreciate Brann's vocals more every listen, and his drumming is as impressive as ever. Some favourites are 'Steambreather', 'Words to the Wise', and 'Jaguar God'.
Soul_Feeder
52
Emperor of Sand is the lowest point of Mastodon‘s 15 years long career and a quite big disappointment for the metal community, who now needs another enforcer to bring good heavy music to the masses.

Read more at: http://soulfeederweb.com/2017/04/mastodon-emperor-of-sand-album-review/
Music_Observer
57
Without a compelling concept or interesting presentation, this is simply another example of a metal band going after the same exact listeners who crave a specific amount of artificial power, with only the album’s finale showing the amount of bravery and creativity that the rest of the work needed. My Score: 103/180 (Okay) = 57/100
57
Dear listener, when you're in a progressive metal band, such as the Atlanta-based, four-piece known as Mastodon, your response to personal loss may seem atypical. Rather than directly confronting the passing of guitarist Bill Kelliher’s mother through explicit lyrics and melancholic arrangements, Mastodon disguises pain in the form of a (loose) concept album about the desert on Emperor of Sand, their seventh studio release. Using the ever-shifting sands as a metaphor for one's morality, ... read more
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Track List

  1. Sultan's Curse
  2. Show Yourself
  3. Precious Stones
  4. Steambreather
  5. Roots Remain
  6. Word to the Wise
  7. Ancient Kingdom
  8. Clandestiny
  9. Andromeda
  10. Scorpion Breath
  11. Jaguar God
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Added on: January 26, 2017