Mastodon’s “Oblivion” would make for a great wedding march

Getting the morning’s writing gears working with some ranting about whatever music pops up in the queue. I call this A.M. Shuffle. Today: Mastodon’s “Oblivion.”

Had Mastodon shown up in 1991, they might own the world right now. Tougher than Van Halen, more melodic than Metallica, less whiny than Guns n’ Roses, they’re nonetheless a bit adrift in the musical gumbo of the 2010s. Artisinal ass-kickers, if you will.

But ass they do indeed kick. Let’s run through a few of the ways:

• This song is from an album called “Crack the Skye,” a title made so much better by the unnecessary “e” at the end of “Skye.”

• Mastodon is billed as “progressive metal.” Putting aside the fact that metal snobs are more bitchy than wine snobs if you don’t properly categorize their favorite music, the term “progressive” generally brings to mind lemon-faced guitar wankers threading their way through some intricate jazz-and-Eastern chord progression that you can’t possibly understand unless you’re stoned out of your mind. Mastodon does that, but if you mock ’em, they’ll beat you over the head with the bones of Steve Howe. And he’s not even dead.

• When the band released “Skye,” they simultaneously put out an entire instrumental version of the same album. It holds up surprisingly well, and makes for a good lullaby for the kiddies.

• “Skye” is a concept album about a paraplegic who can escape his body and travel through the ether, flitting through wormholes and into Tsarist Russia. Yeah, I don’t get it either, but man, would I have eaten that up in high school.

• Their drummer is named “Brann Dailor,” which sounds like a Game of Thrones character. And not one of the wimpy soon-to-be-victims, either.

• This is the cover to their new album scheduled to come out in June:

All hail Mastodon!


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