And the Winner of the Greatest Metal Concept Album Ever Is…

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This one was really, really, really, really close, y’all.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tournament on this site become so heated in the championship. Both the Queensryche and Mastodon fanbases came out in force to vote for the champion, and really it isn’t hard to see why. Both Operation: Mindcrime and Leviathan are landmark albums that helped normalize progressive songwriting in metal and shaped the course of generations of bands to follow. Although this tournament started with an entire field of worthy contenders, and though many of our personal favorite albums were knocked out in the tourney, I think we can all at least recognize the immense legacy of our two final competitors. But in the end, there could be only one, and the winner is…

Mastodon – Leviathan

As I said, it was an exceptionally close championship round. Ultimately, Mastodon came out on top with 2846 votes to Queensyche’s 2141. Queensryche’s old guard was out in force, but Mastodon fans cannot deny the power of the white whale. And really, it’s that marriage of cetacean splendor and mighty riff that won the day. Leviathan‘s concept is a timeless one, a tale of revenge, ambition, and mania. Moby Dick, with its grim climax and revelatory narrative, is one of the most important pieces of American literature, and its story is more than sufficiently metal for a concept album.

The concept is executed perfectly on Leviathan. From the blood-turning mandate of “Split your lungs with blood and thunder!” to the feeding frenzy riffs on “Megalodon,” Leviathan captures the dynamic and volatile tale of braving storming seas and volatile sea beasts to claim a prize at any cost. The album’s climax, “Hearts Alive,” is a mini-epic of churning riffs and foaming sea, one that delivers more grandeur and emotion as it tells its tale of one final stand against death than most metal records do across their entire run times.

But don’t take my word for it. The inimitable Dr. K. weighed in on Leviathan’s glory.

“Whether Leviathan deserved to beat out all the other amazing albums in this bracket is open for debate, but there’s no question that this album has taken its place among the finest records of metal history. The second full-length from Mastodon was a crucial turning point for the band, transforming them from one of those sludge groups from Georgia – the one with dudes who used to be in Today is the Day – into a leading act in the genre (a success they’d take to the next level two albums later, when Crack the Skye gained acceptance among Pitchfork readers and NPR-listeners). The Moby Dick-inspired concept of the album proves quite a bit looser than the first few songs and the amazing cover by Paul Romano would suggest. The specific references to Ahab, the white whale, and Queequeg give way to broader reflections on the majesty and terror of the ocean until concluding, like the novel, with a shipwreck. That’s an appropriate outcome given the source material, a novel that often uses its plot of tragic obsession as a mere excuse for digressive rants, philosophical reflection, and formal experimentation. In any case, what has kept this album at the forefront of any discussion of the best metal albums of the 21st century is not its commentary on Melville but its monstrous riffage, huge hooks, and dominant performance on the drums from Brann Dailor. From the opening fill and catchy chorus of “Blood & Thunder,” through that awesome country-flavored lick that gives way to a vicious thrash riff in “Megalodon,” and on into the epic, adventurous journey through the underwater realm in “Hearts Alive,” this is an album packed with amazing moments. Nonetheless, the sum is greater than its parts, and the overall sense the album instills of having glimpsed, not only a band at the top of its game, but something sublime that stands behind their writing and performances is why Leviathan belongs at the top rank of metal concept albums.” Dr. K.

The people voted, and so let it be written. Mastodon’s Leviathan is proclaimed the greatest metal concept album ever. Now kick back and hunt a white whale with us.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    (OUTRAGE FILLED COMMENT)

    • [seething resentment, petty dismissal]

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        [farts in office, calls boss in]

  • oh shit, i voted for the band i liked most. can we start over?

  • Jack Bauer

    This is the proper result

    • Mosh Hoff

      If you don’t know what a concept album is, yes.

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        So I’m not the only one that thinks Leviathan is not a proper concept album?

        • now this i gotta hear!

        • Guacamole Jim

          What defines a proper concept album?

          • Joaquin Stick

            And when I get that feeling
            I want conceptual healing
            Conceptual healing, oh baby
            Makes me feel so fine

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          I, too, would like to know what exactly makes Leviathan not a concept record?

    • Vault Dweller

      Agreed.

  • Jeremy Riegel

    The icing on Brent’s wedding cake.

    • Pagliacci is Kvlt

      Cocaine?

      • Guacamole Jim

        The icing on Brent’s wedding cocaine?

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    A predictable result, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed by it. Though, OP:MC would’ve elicited the same result.

    • Joaquin Stick

      ALL THINGS ARE BAD, NO THINGS ARE GOOD

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        My life’s motto is a slight variation on that.
        All things are bread, not things are good.

      • Howard Dean

        Quoted for truth.

        __________________________________________________________________
        “ALL THINGS ARE BAD, NO THINGS ARE GOOD.” -Joaquin Stick

  • Señor Jefe El Rossover
    • Riboflavin dreams

      Suck it Boss the Ross
      Neo-dad metal reigns true
      Better luck next time

    • Óðinn

      Would you have posted the exact same gif if Queensryche had won, Jefe?

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Probably!

        For what it’s worth, I own and enjoy both Leviathan and Mindcrime.

        • Óðinn

          Haha! That’s funny.

          I hope you’re doing well, my friend.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            Yeah, man, work is kinda weird right now but nothing I can’t handle

  • Dr. K

    Personally, I was rooting for King Diamond or Opeth at the beginning, but this result did not surprise me, and – obviously – I think it’s a classic album and did not mind explaining the case for its victory.

  • Guacamole Jim

    YUSSSSSSSSS

    SPLIT YOUR LUNGS WITH BLOOD AND THUNDER

  • all of the albums featured in this tournament were really, really good. perhaps the only true way to end this would have been with a 32-way tie.

  • Riboflavin dreams

    Thank the fucking lord
    Leviathan hath prevailed!
    Suck it ya old dads

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Uh, I hate to break it to you, but Leviathan is the dad choice here. Queensryche would’ve gone grandma.

      • Riboflavin dreams

        Fair enough Beargod
        I’m happy Mastodon won
        And a poor winner

  • Mr. Jackpot

    (shakes fist, yells at cloud)

    • Mr. Jackpot

      Seriously though, I like both albums just fine.

      • Óðinn

        Yeah, Geoff Tate is a dick but many people like the early Queensryche albums. I’m okay with Mastodon winning. Leviathan is a good album. Still, there are bound to be a lot of hurt butts today. This place will have more hurt butts than a proctologist’s office. Oh well.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1f8949d5f89559dcb6be9a716838336d45c75c42adec6b58c2b3a8890aaa4d2d.jpg

        • Mr. Jackpot

          Let’s always keep in mind that Geoffy was the last member to join QR, and that only happened when they were guaranteed that the EP would get wide release. He has never been happy being known as a Metal vocalist.

  • The Mighty Thorange

    I love both these albums. BUT BLIND GUARDIANS NIGHTFALL SHOULD HAVE WON! NOTHING CAN COMPARE TO IT’S MAJESTY AND EPICNESS! I think it handles the concept and subject matter a lot better as well. (Mumbles incoherently in parents basement about posers and slaying them with steel)

    • If Blind Guardian wanted to win they would have rallied their fans. LOW ENERGY, NO WILL TO WIN.

      • The Mighty Thorange

        You know damn well that they are too busy reading Tolkien to be concerned with mere mortal affairs such as these!

        • tigeraid

          I was halfway through the Fionavar Tapestry, and looked up AND THE VOTE WAS ALREADY OVER.

          (Plays Valhalla to forget.)

          • The Mighty Thorange

            (Currently D&Ding aggressively.)

      • Mr. Jackpot

        QR and Mastodon shared that page almost everyday.

        • Really? that is sweet. No wonder the vote count was so high. Dang

        • The Mighty Thorange

          Look on the bright side at least. It means the site received a ton more traffic.

          • Mr. Jackpot

            I think the whole thing went quite well. My choice didn’t win but whatever.

          • The Mighty Thorange

            Same here dude, (obviously). It’s all in good fun at the end of the day.

      • Howard Dean

        SAD!

    • Guacamole Jim
  • Howard Dean
  • Óðinn

    Great contest. Thanks, W.!

  • tigeraid

    While this is still the wrong winner, I will accept it as a tiny victory over the pretender it was competing against in the final.

    Can we just never do this again, now? LET’S QUIT THE FUSSIN’ AND THE FEUDIN’, TOILET BROS!

    https://frinkiac.com/img/S07E03/947495.jpg

    • Joaquin Stick

      Just wait until the next bracket “Most Overrated Album of All Time”

      • Holy shit, but seriously though. The next bracket I wanna do might get us in trouble.

        • Joaquin Stick

          Yesssss

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          I like it already.

        • Mr. Jackpot

          Have we already done Worst Metal Album?

          • Joaquin Stick

            The last one was worst song. I don’t think I can listen to that much bad music again.

      • tigeraid

        #1 – Whatever progressive post-blackened shoegaze Richter comes up with.

        • Wait what?

          • tigeraid

            I kid, I kid. Did my made-up words make and sense?

          • Um…
            Uh…
            SATAN

      • Howard Dean

        I fully support that bracket idea. Let’s do it.

        • Joaquin Stick

          I was joking but I’m kinda into it now.

          • Howard Dean

            I think that would be a great one with tons of discussion (and outrage). I’m in.

          • Wet W’s Whistle

            So much butthurt. Butthurt that would reverberate into eternity. I’m into it.

      • Dr. K

        If that happens, I’ll probably go full Boss the Ross.

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        I vote for “Most Metal Album of All Time”

        • Joaquin Stick

          Maybe we should do a bracket of what bracket to do next.

          • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

            Yes!

  • Depechemodeisgangsta

    As soon as i saw mastodon in the list, all i kept thinking is, Yep that’s the one that is going to win, they were basically the Michael Jordan Bulls, but idk what it says about me, that i think Crack the Sky is a better album for me than Leviathan, i think it has to do that 3 times i have tried to read Moby Dick book and always after 70 pages in, i always give up.

  • Freedom Jew

    Savatage should have won this, but the poseurs who put together the bracket forgot that they existed.

  • James

    My personal tastes and opinions wernt put on a pedestal to justify my own self worth!!!?!1!……scandalous…..

  • nbm02ss
    • Mr. Jackpot

      He’ll just come back with another so…

    • “nbm02ss plz! i was joking about that”

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Im staying here out of spite to my detractors.

        • you don’t HAVE any detractors! you’re the one who made the initial claim. there isn’t a soul who wants you to quit commenting. <3

  • Hans

    While in some corners of the Toilet, shots and the names of long-fallen gladiators still rang out, the largest part of the poopulace remained remarkably calm as the champion raised his bloodied gauntlet. We lived. The apocalyptic vision of the babbling madman had not come true. Peace seemed an option. And yet… colours had been shown. Words had been said. Forgetting would not be easy, and the ones who stood idly by would feel the accusing glares and the mantle of suspicion for a long time to come.

    • tigeraid

      Beware the Ides of March. I’ll leave it at that.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    That’s it, the gloves are off now. I can’t even begin to state my disappointment. I bet the reason people voted Mastodon was so that I’d retire from commenting. Well I’ll disappoint them by saying I’m not quitting and in fact I’ll be commenting more just to spite those people.

    • nbm02ss

      Yes, 2800 people voted for Mastodon just so you’d stop commenting.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        I never said I was right. There probably are some people who did that though.

        • Howard Dean

          Honestly, I would highly doubt that anyone voted for Mastodon for that reason.

    • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

      Can’t be that surprising though, right?

    • Howard Dean

      Wait, Janitor Jim is “dropping the gloves”…

      …someone tell Chris Simonopolosistamos!

      http://www.toiletovhell.com/nhl-2014-15-season-predictions-and-a-column-introduction/

    • Wet W’s Whistle

      Lemme see those tax returns,

    • Maik Beninton™

      I voted Queensryche just to spite this bracket.

  • krisdaschwab912

    Finally, some justice. Devin Townsend has been avenged by his loss against fetid dad metal.

  • BobLoblaw

    I guess you lose no points for not having an original concept for your concept album….

  • Eliza

    *deep sigh of relief*

  • GrungierNine0

    I leave for a day, and THIS happens? Fethin’ graduation. Well, I guess I should tip my hat to Mastodon for pulling it off. Spitefully, it must be said.