REVIEW: Mastodon – ‘Emperor of Sand’

Mastodon’s seventh album, “Emperor of Sand,” finally saw this critically acclaimed Sabbath-inspired, stoner-heavy metal band break through into the mainstream in prehistoric proportions.

The first single, a Queens of the Stone Age-style rocker, “Show Yourself” peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Chart and was in heavy rotation on Sirius XM’s Octane. It didn’t stop there, as “Steambreather” was a big hit, along with the track most fans heard first, the mammoth “Sultan’s Curse.”

The album is a concept record that probably only Mastodon could pull off. The concept and story in “Emperor of Sand” follows a desert wanderer who has been handed a death sentence. Themes of death and survival are woven into the song’s lyrics, which were inspired by experiences members of the band had when family and friends were recently diagnosed with cancer.

Here’s what drummer Brann Dailor said about the album’s concept:

“At the end of the story, the person simultaneously dies and is saved. It’s about going through cancer, going through chemotherapy and all the things associated with that. I didn’t want to be literal about it. But it’s all in there. You can read between the lines.”

“Emperor of Sand” continued the progression of Mastodon and exposed the band to a new audience in the process.


Released March 31, 2017, Reprise Records

Rating: 9/10



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