We’re a little ridiculous with our not-too-hidden worship respect for Mastodon at Metal Insider, but it turns out we’re not alone. National Public Radio news show All Things Considered made some headlines earlier this week with their 50 Most Important Recordings of the Decade, chosen by staff of the long running show, as well as listeners. Predictably, a decent amount of the list is the type of indie rock of the ilk that’s heard on NPR stations when they’re playing music. But Mastodon’s Leviathan was chosen as the sole metal album on the list.
Mastodon’s rise as metal’s great sword-bearer can, in a sense, be likened to Metallica’s meteoric ascent in 1991: Both bands dramatically poured on the production values and polished the rough edges of past albums. But that’s where the comparisons end. Pardon the pun, but 2004’s Leviathan has oceanic depth, riding a progressive path that epitomized a phenomenal decade for metal.
It’s a pretty balanced look at the album, and if there’s one representative of metal for the decade on the list, we’re psyched it’s Mastodon. There are a number of higher-selling, or more metallic bands that could represent the decade, but Mastodon is that rare band that has gone from completely underground metal band to a quartet that even people that don’t like metal can appreciate. It helps that there’s a literary reference (Herman Melvile’s Moby Dick, duh) for the more elitist hipstery types can appreciate, but the music is undeniable. The rest of the list is pretty solid, encompassing what you’d expect (Wilco, The Decemberists) to what you might not (Britney Spears, Beyonce, Green Day). Check the whole list out here.