21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century... So Far

#19: MASTODON – REMISSION

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SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER BEN APATOFF OF APATOFF FOR DESTRUCTION & METAL INJECTION

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We recently polled a wide array of musicians, managers, publicists, label reps, and writers from within the world of metal to find out what they thought the 21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century So Far have been. Eligible albums were released between January 1, 2000 and  April 1, 2009. Each panelist turned in a ballot, with their #1 album worth 21 points, their #2 album worth 20 points, and so on and so forth. The ballots are now in and we’ll be counting down one album a day until we reach #1. Today we present the #19 album, coming in with a total of 109 points…

Mastodon, Remission (Relapse, 2002)
Brann Dailor – Drums
Brent Hinds – Guitars/Vocals
Bill Kelliher – Guitars
Troy Sanders – Bass/Vocals
Produced by Matt Bayles

Mastodon’s first album erupts with a sound bite from Jurassic Park before unleashing twelve auditory beasts that absolutely wipe the floor with any CG Tyrannosaurus Rex.  From hectic, abrasive mathcore (“Crusher Destroyer”) to spacey, slow-building epics (“Trainwreck”) to a monolithic Thin Lizzy cover (“Emerald,” worth tracking down on the re-release,) four then-unknown southerners who’d barely discovered clean vocals already sounded like they could pull off everything.

The riffs on Remission would be impressive enough just for not getting steamrolled by Brann Dailor’s fills, but it helps that Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher provide the type of monster-sized progressions that aren’t supposed to exist outside of Ride the Lightning. The entirely awesome “March of the Fire Ants” sounds like more of a breakthrough than anything they’ve released for Warner Bros., and hearing Mastodon throw all their weight into the two-fisted “Mother Puncher” is an affirmation of the involuntary headbang. Remission has all the rawness expected of a debut, with “Burning Man” and “Trampled Under Hoof” hitting like cinder blocks to the skull, but it also has the pace and diversity of something that veteran metal gods would release. If Mastodon’s inevitable aging process sounds anything like “Elephant Man” or “Ol’e Nessie,” we’ll be in luck.

Had they never followed up Remission by becoming one of the biggest metal bands of the decade, it’s safe to say Mastodon still would have been one of the best. They’d get heavier, more melodic and more proficient, but hearing Remission makes me wish Mastodon still sounded like they did in 2002.

-Ben Apatoff

Download Remission from Amazon or iTunes!
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THE LIST SO FAR:

#20 – Shadows Fall, The War Within

#21 – Slipknot, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses

THE PANEL OF VOTERS

Chris Adler, Lamb of God
Dan And, Bison B.C.
Ben Apatoff, Apatoff for Destruction
/Metal Injection
Jason Bittner, Shadows Fall
Tim Brennan,
Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
Freddy Cai, Painkiller Magazine
Ian Christe, Bazillion Points
Reverend David J. Ciancio, Yeah! Management
Betsey Cichoracki, Relapse Records
Paul Conroy, Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
J. Costa, Thy Will Be Done
Dallas Coyle, ex-
God Forbid/Coyle Media
Doc Coyle, God Forbid
CT, Rwake
Anso DF, MetalSucks/Hipsters Out of Metal!
Vince Edwards, Metal Blade Records
Charles Elliott, Abysmal Dawn/Nuclear Blast Records
Brian Fair,
Shadows Fall
Leo  Ferrante, Warner Music Group
D.X. Ferris, author 33 1/3: Reign in Blood/Freelance Journalist
Mike Gitter, Roadrunner Records
Nick Green, Decibel
Matt Grenier, August Burns Red
Anthony Guzzardo, Earache Records
Kevin Hufnagel, Dysrhythmia
Mark Hunter, Chimaira
Steve Joh, Century Media
EJ Johantgen, Prosthetic Records
Kim Kelly,
Metal Injection/Hails & Horns/Freelance Journalist
Josh “The J” Key, Psychostick
Jason Lekberg, skullsnbones.com
Eyal Levi, Daath
Bob Lugowe, Relapse Records
Matt McChesney, The Autumn Offering
Jake McReynolds,
Psychostick
Marc Meltzer, The Syndicate
Josh Middleton, Sylosis
Matt Moore, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder
Vince Neilstein, MetalSucks
Sammy O’Hagar, MetalSucks
Anton OyVey, MetalSucks/Bacon Jew
Rob Pasbani,
Metal Injection
Alex Preiss, Psychostick
Carlos Ramirez, NoiseCreep/NetReach
Brian Rocha, Fresno Media USA
Jeremy Rosen, Roadrunner Records
Axl Rosenberg, MetalSucks
Satan Rosenbloom, MetalSucks/Cerebral Metalhead
David Bee Roth, MetalSucks
Jason Rudolph,
Heavy Hitter, Inc.
Amy Sciarretto, Roadrunner Records/NoiseCreep
Carl Severson,
Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
Gary Suarez, MetalSucks/No Yoko No/Brainwashed
Geoff Summers, The End Records/Crustcake
Bram Teitelman, The Syndicate/Metal Insider
Alisha Turull, Heavy Hitter, Inc.
Christopher R. Weingarten, 1000TimesYes/Freelance Journalist

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