Okay ya boys, you're going to want to sit down and breathe calmly right about now. You're seated? You're braced? Okay, good. Listen: Mastodon loses... to a band you may not have paid much mind to until recently.
When "Crack The Skye" came out, within a week I'd had it pegged as a lock for Album Of The Year. And it has obviously remained a force to be reckoned with, lasting this whole contest with relative ease. It's every bit as powerful and epic as its inevitable yardstick, "Blood Mountain." It even has a little bit of that sound of the instant classic that its predecessor has (you know, the sound a band makes when they're making the album of their careers, the feeling you get when you know "Man, this is some next-level shit right here!") Not a lot of that sound, though... and eventually it starts to give you the sense that this is a band struggling to figure out what to do next.
But not Shads. "Retribution" comes from a band who's still hungry, who still has something to prove. Yet, it's as self-assured and full of bravado as anything else this year. And with this disc, one starts to get the sense that its replayability has got legs and legs. So, in the final analysis, while "Crack The Skye" satisfies, "Retribution" makes you break shit.
Well done, Shadows Fall. Tomorrow, the big finish: SF versus Isis.