Album: The Taste of Chaos Ensemble Performs Mastodons Leviathan
Artist: The Taste of Chaos Ensemble
At first glance on might say, “Oh it’s Apocalyptica do Mastodon.” Well not quite. While they are limited in their approach with only four cellos the Ensemble come with much more. Comprising of 4 violins’, 1 Viola, 1 Cello, and 1 Contrabass (which apparently has nothing to do with one of the greatest Nintendo games of all time). But their mission is the same, orchestral versions of Mastodon songs. Now I must admit, I am sucker for these kinds of albums. When seeing on Blabbermouth this was coming out I rushed to my local record store (you remember those don’t you kids) and asked Tom to order it for me immediately.
Now I have two rules when it comes to cover versions. One, you should stay true to the original. No reason to fuck up a classic. Two, if you must do your interpretation then you had better bring it. Luckily The Ensemble does the first and not the latter. All in all they accomplish their mission. As soon as many of the songs begin you have no problem identifying them. With some, unfortunately, they fall short. When listening to Iron Tusk, one of the strongest tracks on Leviathan, I was not sure it was the song. After a bit though it does become clear. Where they really shine it is when Mastodon gets quiet. Tracks like Hearts Alive, and Joseph Merrick really come to benefit from the orchestral touch. They wash away the sludge that Mastodon bathe in and show the beauty that lies beneath. What The Ensemble lack in power they make up for with depth.
Now if you are not a fan of Mastodon this will for sure be a pass. But for those who are fans this is a good complimentary piece to Leviathan and your Mastodon collection. Upon repeated listen you may hear thing un heard in the original and quickly try to find it. While this may only appeal to niche group of people who must own all and everything associated with their favorite band this may be just what you’re looking for.
Highlights: Blood and Thunder, Hearts Alive, Joseph Merrick
On a side note. It should be said that while Vitamin Records would like you to believe that this record is a result or them being big Mastodon fans, but this would be false. This album is nothing more than capitalizing on a popular album and band. One look at their web site and the pamphlet inside the CD proves this. Along with Mastodon they also do versions of U2, Linkin Park, Disturbed, Weezer, and Madonna to name a few. But as long as there are people like me they will be in business.