"Once More 'Round The Sun" is Mastodon's sixth album (seventh if you include "Call Of The Mastodon"). They have evolved little by little over each record since their debut "Remission" in 2002.
Brann Dailor, the drummer, has gotten more and more vocal space for each record as he is probably the best "clean singer" in the band, in the early days Brent Hinds, the guitarist, was the one doing the "melodic" singing. This has added a new dimension in Mastodon's music and you get almost pop-like choruses in a few times. We got a small taste of it on their 2009 masterpiece "Crack The Skye" in the song "Oblivion" where he sings the chorus. They took it one step further on 2011's "The Hunter". Whereas "Crack The Skye" was a concept album with a strong album structure, "The Hunter" felt more song based. Since "Crack The Skye" was such a success maybe they felt they had to work hard not to repeat themselves. For me they produced a great record in "The Hunter", perhaps just not as good as some of their other albums.
On "Once More 'Round The Sun" I feel they have nailed the dynamics between "the new and old Mastodon", so to speak. This album has equal parts "Leviathan", "The Hunter" and "Crack The Skye".
The second single, "Chimes At Midnight", was also a song that didn't really do it for me immediately. After listening to the song a few times and now on the album I think it perfectly sums up what is so great about Mastodon and what I love about them. The psychedelic and dreamy intro, the stuttering riffs, just enough melody and raw punk like energy and the transmission from the heavy riff into the outro is just brilliant, goose-bumps every time!
All in all a great album and I can't wait for Mastodon to come to Scandinavia this winter!