Mastodon is a band that exploded onto the heavy metal scene very abruptly in the 2000s, and which now enjoys beloved status that has taken other bands decades to cultivate. The reason for this is largely Mastodon’s jaw-dropping 2004 concept album, Leviathan, from which this song “Blood and Thunder” comes. Leviathan is one of those albums where you never forget the first time you listened to it. Even if you’ve never heard of them before–as I hadn’t when I got the album that year–after spinning the disc, you’re an instant believer. Leviathan has been named one of the best heavy metal albums of the 2000s, and in fact the best in some surveys.

Coming out of Atlanta, Mastodon incubated in the vibrant metal scene of the American South in the 1990s, which was a wonderful time and place to be from if you played metal music. You can hear hints of death, doom, thrash and progressive metal in Mastodon’s sound, and they defy being easily pigeonholed into any one single category. The technical artistry and raw emotional anguish of a track like this makes you think back on why you love heavy metal to begin with. Leviathan also appeals to the brain; it’s a concept album based loosely on Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, probably the best American novel ever written. Both lit geeks and music nerds can definitely get a lot out of Mastodon.

This video, in HD, is the official music video for the single. I can’t say I care too much for the clown theme, but the song itself is undeniably excellent. This is a good way to start off the weekend. Shabbat Shalom, and have a great weekend! \m/