As any food section in any paper will tell you: Everyday life in post-9-11 times is all about comfort. Things are so bad, restaurants have started taking the garlic out of already quite comforting garlicmashed potatoes so as not to disrupt our newly infantile constitutions. Which brings us to the Atlanta quartet Mastodon and Remission, their big-fat-bloody-porterhouse-steak-with-a-baked-spud-on-the-side-the-size-of-your-head-smothered-in-extra-fat-butter of an album. And why I feel no shame in mainlining its riffs, power chords, and tar-pit attack in the exact same way that I did Sabbath’s as a 12-year-old in the hinterlands.
Come to think of it, seeing how I long ago came to grips with my spiritually unenlightened entropy, I really don’t need war, destruction, terrorism, and a failing economy as excuses to burrow deep underground with childhood totems. I live for family, french fries, the Gilmore Girls, and loud, obnoxious music. Mastodon combine Necros shout and muscle, in-tune (and much better played) Sonic Youth instro beauty, late-period Entombed swing, and the Viking metal bite and execution of, oh, I don’t know, Amon Amarth.
So the mathematical formula for a song like “March of the Fire Ants,” while surprisingly simple, is sure to be duplicated. Crunch times fire ants divided by a disregard for the recording techniques of the century we now live in equals a bass that sounds like a rock with strings attached to it played through an X-ray machine. A heavy balm for your souls, brothers and sisters. Sometimes the same old same old can knock your ear on your ass.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 15, 2003