Vinyl Vlog 494

Vinyl Vlog 494

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Tuesday, 06 April 2021
COLUMN

Mastodon
Medium Rarities

There’s a reason why Mastodon is currently one of the biggest metal bands that still matters. They don’t pack in stadiums, I know, but they’re not playing tiny venues either. They’re big enough to play all the late night shows (I’ve seen them on Letterman, Kimmel, and Fallon), and even occasionally do the oddball appearance (remember when they were on the Human Giant show?). Also, they have a sense of humor about themselves. These are all good things, of course, because Mastodon has figured out a way to stay interesting throughout the years. And for those fans that have stayed with them all these years, they’ve released a rarities album, fittingly called Medium Rarities, because these songs are rare, but just kind of.

Known for their thematic albums, Mastodon started off with the elements releasing albums based on fire, water, earth, and wind, and having since moved to more personal themes, and Medium Rarities has bsides, live cuts, and instrumental tracks spanning all those years. And as is the case with their previous albums, there’s a formula to listening to this record.

Mastodon albums are almost divided into two parts sound-wise. The first half has them treading familiar waters and it’s where you can find their more straightforward songs, with melodic harmonies and (dare I say it) easy listening metal chords. The second half if where all the interesting stuff is happening and where all the experimentation and weird finger-work takes place. So Mastodon albums ease you into it, giving you familiar sounds, making sure you get comfortable before they really shake up your ride. Medium Rarities has the exclusive track Fallen Torches as the highlight (a scorching track that’s representative of all the good things Mastodon are doing with their music today), followed by a mix of b-sides and oddballs peppered throughout.

We’re reviewing the beautiful red edition of the vinyl here, and as always, Mastodon vinyl is very cool, with a double 180g pressing, in an expanded sleeve with glossy insert. It’s a classy and simple presentation fitting for this release.

There’s a warm feeling in my stomach when I think of Mastodon’s audience. It’s a wide one, and one that’s getting exposed to some truly edgy and weird stuff. You get both a little of what you and they want at the same time. This album is dedicated to the fans.

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