Emperor of Sand

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand
Critic Score
Based on 26 reviews
2017 Ratings: #420 / 838
User Score
Based on 155 ratings
2017 Ratings: #569
Liked by 2 people
March 31, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Reprise / Label
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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.


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.


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.


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

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.

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.


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.

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.


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


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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

Mastodon's "Emperor of Sand" was, without a doubt, one of my favourite albums of 2017, if not my favourite. So many people are, or were divided with this record. Some love it, some hate it. I will say it is one of my least favourite albums of theirs currently. But nevertheless, this album is solid, and blends together progressive rock, heavy metal and stoner rock, and still has the wonderful chemistry and musicianship the band are known for. Definitely recommend it regardless of its ... read more
"I Hate Sand..."
- Emperor of Sand
"I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth."

Favorite Tracks: "Word to the Wise", "Ancient Kingdom", "Roots Remain"

Least Favorite Tracks: "Show Yourself", "Precious Stones"
It’s hard to compare a Mastodon album to its predecessors, given how much their sound both remains constant but evolves all at the same time. Emperor of the Sand incorporates the melodic vocals and technical metal sound they’re famous for, but evens itself back out away from radio friendliness (though Show Yourself is arguably the most fun metal song of the year) without digging too deep into its eccentric and lofty tones too wild for the typical listener, inviting all listeners in. ... 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