"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Fiftywatthead - "Fogcutter" (CD)

Fiftywatthead - "Fogcutter" CD cover image

"Fogcutter" track listing:

1. Whiteout
2. Fogcutter
3. Seadawg
4. Capsized
5. Four Points
6. Iron Clad
7. Last Leg
8. Followed By Thunder

Reviewed by on June 24, 2009

"Drummer Kevin Patrick does well with time and style changes that would sink many metal drummers."

In the same way Metallica inspired much of the thrash movement in the 1980s, so Mastodon seems to be inspiring many metal acts of the 21st century. On the thundering "Fogcutter," Fiftywatthead takes their inspiration from Mastodon and adds touches of thrash and doom to create an appealing album.

"Whiteout," which opens the disc, starts out sounding like "Leviathan"-era Mastodon, and given the nautical theme of "Fogcutter," I started worrying that the album should've been called "Cookiecutter." Then, at about a minute and a half in, things started turning a little thrashier, culminating in a chugging guitar break that sounded like it could've come off a mid-'80s Anthrax album, before heading back into Mastodon territory.

The title track, "Fogcutter," has a doomy opening riff that sets the mood well as J Drummond sings "Through the floes we're thrown out into the open seas and mighty oceans." It also has some superb guitar work by Drummond and Ben Guthrie.

If I had to pick my favorite riff on the album, it'd be the opening to "Seadawg," which, though rather simple, has the sense of being cast about on a stormy sea. The lyrics feature a crew of hardy sailors preparing to claim the seas for their king.

Though there aren't any bad tracks on the album, my least favorite is probably "Capsized," partly because the rest of the instruments really drown out the vocals. It bothers me when the twist of a knob could've fixed a problem like that, but it's a small complaint when the riffs are as good as they are throughout this album.

Drummer Kevin Patrick does well with time and style changes that would sink many metal drummers. There's the occasional moment in "Four Points" where I wish he showed a little more sense of adventure (his drums mimic the guitar line almost exactly), but again, it's a pretty small quibble.

If you're a Mastodon fan already going through withdrawals after "Crack The Skye" — or just a metal fan looking for some killer riffs — you should set sail with Fiftywatthead on "Fogcutter."

Highs: Opening riff to "Seadawg;" superb playing throughout.

Lows: Vocals are nearly covered up on "Capsized."

Bottom line: A great Mastodon-style metal album.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)