Mastodon — Hushed and Grim — Album Review

Progressive Metal | Psychedelic Rock

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Mastodon have been a band that I have stuck by for a very long time. In fact, they have musically made up a very big part of my teenhood. It was shortly after the release of their fifth studio album, 2011’s The Hunter, that I had first discovered them. That being said, it has been approximately a decade since I have been aware of the band.

That being said, quite a long period of that time had been a quiet period for the Atlanta band. Up until recently, their most recent LP was Emperor of Sand, released way back in 2017. So it had been just over a 4 year wait in regards to a new Mastodon album. However, they have made Hushed and Grim worth the wait, by making it a double album.

And honestly, Hushed and Grim is an extremely generous project, with 15 total tracks, and almost an hour and a half’s worth of duration. But would this double album serve as a quantity-over-quality situation. The only way for me to find out, was to dive straight in to this lengthy experience.

When taken individually, even the tracks themselves are quite extensive, with the duration averaging at around 5 and a half minutes. And while this mostly works in favour of Mastodon, and their knack for creating immersive ballads, there are also a few instances where the listening experience can get slightly repetitive or tiresome.

But even with the amount of time we’ve waited for Hushed and Grim to arrive, the album still carries all of the familiarity that Mastodon fans like myself have come to love over the years. This can been seen as a good thing or otherwise, depending on how you slice it. On one hand, it is great to see that Mastodon still know how to be Mastodon.

On the other hand, however, Hushed and Grim struggles to break away as an especially memorable experience, as it blends in a bit too well into their current discography. This could’ve been the chance for Mastodon to try something a bit newer. That isn’t to say that Hushed and Grim is a bad album in any way, but just not one that shows much innovation.

The primary effort to set this album apart from the rest, aside from its duration, would be the slightly more somber and balladic tone the album goes for. It seems to reflect the time of its release pretty well, as we now enter the truly colder months. I also love how Hushed and Grim is another example of showcasing the talents of all members, and puts their chemistry and diversity to good use.

Perhaps, given how long this album is, it may just need more time to grow on me fully. But as somebody who is on a constant, when it comes to reviewing music, I have to make an initial verdict quickly. That being said, I feel that the grip that Hushed and Grim has, is a little slipperier than I hoped it would be; but perhaps this is partially my own fault.

But when it really comes down to it, Hushed and Grim is still another very solid addition to the already-incredible Mastodon discography.

Favourite Tracks: The Crux | The Beast | Pushing the Tides

Least Favourite Track: Skeleton of Splendor

Reprise Records

Enjoyment: 7/10 | Memorability: 6/10 | Atmosphere: 8/10

Uniqueness: 6/10 | Satisfaction: 7/10 | Narrative: 8/10

Final Score: 7/10

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.