In the lifespan of every successful band there exists a point at which the band must decide whether to stay within their niche or branch out into the mainstream, essentially “selling out.” Mastodon seems to have chosen the latter, though the changes didn’t come all at once. Their discography displays incremental shifts from the grimy sludge metal of early efforts Remission and Leviathan to The Hunter, which showed signs of Mastodon’s initial change in sound, to Once More ‘Round the Sun, a mopey hard rock album posing as progressive metal. Emperor of the Sand continues this trend, proving that the law of diminishing returns applies to Mastodon as much as it does economics.
Contrary to what some of my political opponents may tell you, I am but one man. And as one man, I have a hard time writing about every album that crosses my desk (I don’t actually have a desk at the moment but bear with me). Capsule reviews, named after their inventor Arthur J. Capsule (presumably), allow me an avenue around the boundaries of being a single human being. Here are five short reviews of noteworthy albums from November 2016 that I just wasn’t able to write about in length at the time.