ⓘ Mastodon (band)
Mastodon is an American heavy metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, formed in 2000. The group is composed of Troy Sanders, Brent Hinds, Bill Kelliher, and Brann Dailor. Mastodon has released seven studio albums, as well as a number of other releases. The bands 2002 debut album, Remission, garnered significant critical acclaim for its unique sound. Mastodons second full-length release, Leviathan, is a concept album based on the novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. Three magazines awarded the record Album of the Year in 2004: Revolver, Kerrang! and Terrorizer.
The song "Colony of Birchmen" from the bands third album released in 2006, Blood Mountain, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2007. Blood Mountain was followed in 2009 by Crack the Skye, and in 2011 by The Hunter, which debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved major commercial success in the United States. The Hunter features the song "Curl of the Burl", which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 2012. Mastodons 2014 album, Once More Round the Sun, peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart and features the bands third Grammy-nominated song, "High Road". The bands seventh album, Emperor of Sand, was released on March 31, 2017, and features the bands most commercially successful song to date, "Show Yourself", which peaked at No. 4 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in June 2017. The followup single, "Steambreather", peaked at number 18 on the same chart in October 2017. The albums opening track, "Sultans Curse", earned the band their first Grammy award. Emperor of Sand was the bands first album to receive a Grammy nomination; it was nominated for Best Rock Album.
1.1. History Formation, early years and Remission 2000–2003
Mastodon was formed on January 13, 2000, after drummer Brann Dailor and guitarist Bill Kelliher moved to Atlanta from Victor, New York, and met bassist/singer Troy Sanders and guitarist/singer Brent Hinds at a High on Fire show. They discovered they had a mutual appreciation of sludge metal bands Melvins and Neurosis, heavy metal legends Iron Maiden, and 1970s hard-rockers Thin Lizzy, and shortly thereafter formed Mastodon. In an interview in 2009, Kelliher revealed that the first time Hinds attended a practice with the band, he "showed up so wasted he couldnt play".
The band recorded a demo in 2000, which featured Eric Saner on vocals. Saner left the band for personal reasons after just a couple of months. After recording a four-song demo and a 7-inch picture disc through Reptilian Records, Mastodon landed a record deal with Relapse Records in 2001. Mastodon released the EP Lifesblood in 2001, and its first full-length album, Remission, in 2002, with the singles "March of the Fire Ants" and "Crusher/Destroyer" which was also featured on Tony Hawks Underground. On each of Mastodons first three full-length albums, the last track was an instrumental composition with a title that related to the Elephant Man.
1.2. History Leviathan and Call of the Mastodon 2004–2005
The bands second full-length album, Leviathan, was released in 2004. It is a concept album loosely based on Herman Melvilles novel Moby-Dick. The band received critical acclaim for Leviathan and the record was named album of the year by Kerrang! and Terrorizer. "Blood and Thunder," which featured Clutch vocalist Neil Fallon, was chosen as one of the most important recordings of the decade by National Public Radio in November 2009, and that the entire album epitomizes a phenomenal decade for metal". Leviathan also ranked second in a list by Metal Hammer of the best albums of 2004.
The band went on tour in support of the album, playing throughout North America and Europe in The Unholy Alliance tour along with Slayer and Lamb of God and later on with Slipknot.
"Iron Tusk", the fifth track on the album, can be found on the soundtrack of the skateboarding video game Tony Hawks American Wasteland and in 2K Sports video game NHL 2K9. "Blood and Thunder" is featured in the video games Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Saints Row. "Blood and Thunder" was added as a playable track on all instruments in Guitar Hero: Metallica and was featured in Japanese music games Drummania V2 and Guitarfreaks V2. It has also been released as downloadable content for Rock Band 3, with Pro Guitar support also available at extra cost.
Leviathan was followed by the 2006 release of Call of the Mastodon, a remastered collection of the bands first nine songs, and a DVD of interviews and concert footage called The Workhorse Chronicles that includes material from the bands early days as a five-piece. The band has stated that they consider Call of the Mastodon to be their first studio album even though it was the third to be released. These two releases were the bands last for Relapse Records, as they would later go on to sign with Warner Bros. Mastodon also recorded a cover version of Metallicas "Orion" for a 2006 Kerrang! tribute album marking the twentieth anniversary of the release of Master of Puppets.
1.3. History Blood Mountain 2006–2008
Their third studio album, Blood Mountain, was released on September 12, 2006, followed by a tour to support the album along with Tool in Europe and Slayer in Australia and New Zealand. The Mars Volta frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala lent his vocals to the track "Siberian Divide". Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme contributed vocals for the song "Colony of Birchmen".
The band performed the song "Colony of Birchmen" on NBCs Late Night with Conan OBrien on November 1, their first appearance on network television, to a viewing audience of around 2.4 million people. This song was also featured in the video games Saints Row 2 and Rock Band 2.
The bands first single off Blood Mountain, "Capillarian Crest," was ranked number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazines Top 100 Songs of 2006. The album itself was ranked 9th in the magazines best albums of the year chart. The UKs Metal Hammer voted it the best album of 2006 in its end of year critics poll. The album was voted in at No. 5 by Kerrang! in their end of year list, No. 6 on PopMatters Best Albums of 2006, and No. 1 on The Best Metal Albums of 2006. About.com rated it the top metal album of 2006. Blood Mountain was also named best album of 2006 in the 10th anniversary birthday edition issue 119 of Bizarre. It also came in at No. 2 on Revolver magazines list of the top albums of 2006. The band was named Artist Of The Month for March 2007 at Gametap.com.
The band had been touring and playing numerous shows during this time. Mastodon joined Against Me!, and Cursive for a North American tour, with Planes Mistaken for Stars opening for one leg and These Arms Are Snakes the other. A performance in Milwaukee had to be canceled due to illness on the part of Brent Hinds. Mastodon would play the Hove Festival in Norway as well as on the Main Stage of the Download Festival and then the Pitchfork Music Festival. During this time the band opened for Metallica on the Sick of the Studio tour. The band also played at the 2007 Dubai Desert Rock, the 2008 Bonnaroo Music festivals, and the inaugural Mayhem Festival. Mastodon then toured with Slayer, Trivium, Lamb of God and several other metal bands in 2008 for The Unholy Alliance tour 2008.
The band performed "Colony of Birchmen" at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards live with Josh Homme. After the televised performance, Brent Hinds was reported to have sustained a severe head injury. Blabbermouth.net initially reported that it was the result of a brutal assault, but the police report later suggested that an inebriated Hinds had started a fight with System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian and vocalist William Hudson, also known as Reverend William Burke of Achozen.
"Sleeping Giant" was made available as a downloadable song for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, "Colony of Birchmen" was included on Harmonixs Rock Band 2 and also volitions Saints row 2, and "Divinations" was featured in Madden NFL 10 and Saints Row: The Third. Mastodon contributed a cover version of Harry Nilssons "One" to the video game Army of Two s advertisement campaign. The band members are fans of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and in 2007, Mastodon performed the opening song of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, "Cut You Up with a Linoleum Knife".
1.4. History Crack the Skye and Live at the Aragon 2009–2010
Crack the Skye was released on March 24, 2009, as a normal version and a deluxe version which includes all songs in instrumental versions as well as their normal versions and entered the Billboard 200 at number 11 a week later. The album is produced by Brendan OBrien and Scott Kelly of Neurosis returns as a guest musician on the title-track. In a MusicRadar interview, guitarist Bill Kelliher confirmed the album is about an "out-of-body experience", and looks at the concepts of astral travel, wormholes, Stephen Hawkings theories and the spiritual realm. The album follows a quadriplegic who learns astral projection. On his journey he flies too close to the sun, burning his umbilical cord which connects him to his body, and flies into oblivion. At the same time in Czarist Russia, Rasputin and his cult were channeling spirits and brought the quadriplegic to their time. He explains his situation and foretells the assassination of Rasputin. Inevitably Rasputin is assassinated and Rasputin guides him back to his body. The band had debuted three new tracks at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, but did not play any more live shows before the albums release, due to fears of internet distribution and wanting to play the songs to the right audience. Drummer Brann Dailor sings lead vocals for the verses of the song "Oblivion". Mastodon was a headliner at the Scion Rock Fest on February 28, 2009, performing a set containing three tracks from Crack the Skye, the first time these songs were played since being finalized and recorded. On May 15, 2009, Mastodon performed a shortened version of "Oblivion" on the Late Show with David Letterman.
In order to support their new album, Mastodon toured with Metallica on the latter part of the 2009 European leg of their World Magnetic Tour. In Fall of 2009, they embarked with Dethklok on the "Adult Swim Presents" tour along with Converge and High on Fire. On October 17, 2009, they recorded a DVD documenting the tour at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Mastodon played the alternative music festival Big Day Out, touring across Australia and New Zealand in January and February 2010.
On October 29, 2009, they performed "Divinations" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
On November 4, 2009, Mastodon released their second EP, entitled Oblivion.
Teaming up with bands Deftones and Alice in Chains, Mastodon went on tour in September 2010 in the United States and Canada. The tour was called Blackdiamondskye, a portmanteau of the three bands latest albums.
Film director Jimmy Hayward contacted the band during their 2009 tour of Europe and expressed how much listening to Blood Mountain had helped his creative process while finishing a screenplay, and he offered Mastodon a chance to score the film he had been working on - Jonah Hex. In an interview with Paste magazine, bassist Troy Sanders said that Hayward "called us out of the blue as a fan. It was the most beautiful, authentic way to collaborate." Mastodon used scenes from the film as inspiration during the writing and recording process, and the instrumental soundtrack, Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP, was released on June 29, 2010, through Reprise Records.
In 2010, the band was confirmed as being part of the soundtrack for Namco Bandai Games 2010 remake of Splatterhouse. The games protagonist can also be seen wearing a Mastodon T-shirt in certain flashback cutscenes.
On March 15, 2011, Mastodon released their first live DVD/CD entitled Live at the Aragon through Reprise. The recording features the entire performance of their fourth studio album, Crack the Skye, along with songs from their previous records.
1.5. History The Hunter 2011–2012
The Hunter, Mastodons fifth studio album, was recorded at Doppler Studios in Atlanta with producer Mike Elizondo. The first hints of the new album were given by the band via Facebook in January 2011. Drummer Brann Dailor revealed during interviews the title of the bands new album and described the new material as not so much proggy as riff-oriented and "a little more stripped down".
Meanwhile, the band performed in many major summer festivals. On June 28, 2011, Mastodon released through Adultswim.com a leftover track from the Crack the Skye sessions called "Deathbound".
The first taste of The Hunter came in July 2011 where Mastodon released via YouTube the song "Black Tongue", set to a video of AJ Fosik creating the sculpture used for the album cover. By August 12, the band had revealed the track listing from The Hunter and debuted "Curl Of The Burl", the first official single from the new album. Mike Elizondo was chosen to produce the album which marks his first time working with the band. It was also announced that a deluxe edition would be released. It featured the two bonus tracks "The Ruiner" and "Deathbound" and a different cover.
On September 6, Mastodon released a third song from The Hunter, "Spectrelight", featuring Scott Kelly of Neurosis.
On September 16, the band released a 53-minute custom visualizer with all of the album tracks, 11 days prior to the release of The Hunter. In support of the album a North American headline tour was announced. The album was very well received by fans and the media. It also performed strongly on the official charts, rising to number ten on the Billboard 200. On October 5, 2011, they performed "Curl of the Burl" on the Late Show with David Letterman.
On October 12, a UK tour was announced that will run through February 2012 with fellow bands The Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Fang as support acts. They were at Later. with Jools Holland, where they performed "Black Tongue" and "Curl of the Burl". A seventeen-date European tour was announced that featured dates in Scandinavia, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands and Latvia.
On December 1, "Curl of the Burl" was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Metal/Hard Rock performance. It is the bands second nomination with the first being for "Colony of Birchmen" in 2007.
The record was named "Album of the Year" by Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Rock Sound.
In January 2012 it was announced that Mastodon and Swedish prog metal band Opeth will tour together in a joint tour across North America. It was named the "Heritage Hunter Tour" after both bands latest releases, The Hunter and Heritage. The bands took turns in the headlining spot. Support came from the Swedish heavy metal band Ghost. On February 11, 2012, the band performed a sold-out show at the Brixton Academy in London, it was the bands biggest headline show ever. Dry Bone Valley" was released on February 13 as the third single of the album. A music video for the song was also released.
On April 21, 2012, to commemorate Record Store Day, Mastodon released two separate vinyls. The first was a split 7" with Feist titled Feistodon. Mastodon covered Feists "A Commotion" and Feist covered Mastodons "Black Tongue". The pair also released a one of a kind interactive, crossfading music video for the song A Commotion. The second release was a cover of The Flaming Lips "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton".
The band spent the summer performing at festivals across Europe and South America. It was the last tour in support of The Hunter.
1.6. History Once More Round the Sun 2014–2015
Mastodon began recording again in early 2013. Guitarist Brent Hinds described the new music as "really eerie" and "very spooky-sounding", and stated that he has written three new songs. On December 3, 2012, the band announced via their Twitter page that they were writing a song for the film Monsters University. However, the song used in the film was the previously released "Island". They were also part of the 2013 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. On May 6, 2013, the band stated that they are ".Very busy writing and putting songs together for the next studio Mastodon album." In an interview on July 26, Brann Dailor was reported as saying that the band would "probably end of September". The band also played at the 2014 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
On February 27, Brann Dailor told in the interview that their sixth album would be released in summer of 2014, and he also stated that the band would release an EP in winter of 2014. Some of the confirmed tracks were: "Tread Lightly", "Buzzards Guts", "Scent of Bitter Almonds", "High Road" and "Aunt Lisa".
In an interview with Troy Sanders in Paste magazine released on April 3, he revealed the album was called Once More Round the Sun and had 15 tracks. He also confirmed that Mastodon recorded 90 minutes of material, but only 60 minutes of it will be present on the album; the unreleased material possibly might be released on an EP later in 2014. A few more tracks that have been confirmed are: "Diamonds in the Witch House" which has Scott Kelly from Neurosis on a guest vocal appearance, and "Ember City".
In an interview on April 11, Dailor revealed the album will be released in June.
On April 17, the first single "High Road" was made available for streaming.
On 26 April, Bill Kelliher revealed the title of the second single "Chimes at Midnight".
As of June 16, 2014, the entire album is streaming on iTunes.
The album was released on June 24, 2014 through Reprise Records. The album sold around 34.000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart making it the bands first consecutive top 10 debut, with their previous album, The Hunter, peaking at No.10 after opening with 39.000 copies in 2011.
1.7. History Emperor of Sand and Cold Dark Place 2017–present
On January 18, 2015, it was reported that Brent Hinds was working on a new Mastodon album, showing a picture with him playing the 13 string pedal steel. The same report was later confirmed by Troy Sanders, who stated: "Every record that we do is gonna sound different, because we always want to evolve and create our own musical path. And every record will be different. We do not wanna write the same record twice."
On March 12, 2015, Mastodon released a new track called "White Walker", which appears on the Game of Thrones: Catch the Throne Vol. 2 mixtape to promote the fifth season of the HBO TV series Game of Thrones. Dailor, Hinds, and Kelliher also appeared in episode 8 of the season as wildlings. This mixtape will also feature songs by various other acts, ranging from Killswitch Engage to Snoop Dogg. Hinds and Kelliher once again returned to Game of Thrones as wights among the White Walker army for the season 7 finale episode, "The Dragon and the Wolf".
The bands seventh studio album, Emperor of Sand, was released on March 31, 2017. The theme for the album was cancer, inspired by Troys wife who was diagnosed with cancer, and Bills mother who lost her life to cancer. It details the story of a traveller banished to the desert by an emperor, in effect giving him a death sentence. The story is a metaphor for someone diagnosed with terminal cancer. The first single, "Show Yourself", was released in February, and had peaked at number 4 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in June, making it the bands highest charting song to date. The second single, "Steambreather", peaked at number 18 on the same chart in October.
Mastodon also released an EP titled Cold Dark Place on September 22 of the same year. It was a four-song EP, featuring three songs recorded during the Once More Round the Sun sessions, and one track recorded during the Emperor of Sand sessions. The first single for the EP, "Toe to Toes" was released on September 1, 2017. Brent Hinds stated that the inspiration behind some of the songs recorded for Cold Dark Place, which he wrote, were inspired by a nasty breakup that he had endured. Describing the sound of the record, Hinds stated that "I wrote some pretty dark, beautiful, spooky, funky, ethereal, melancholy music, which also sounds like the Bee Gees a little bit." On December 1, the band released a revised version of the 12-part "The Making of Emperor of Sand documentary via their official YouTube channel. Mastodon were announced to be on a co-headlining Summer 2018 Tour with Primus spanning across North America lasting from May to July.
2.1. Characteristics Musical style
Mastodon has been described as a heavy metal band, along with more specific genres such as progressive metal, sludge metal, alternative metal, stoner rock, psychedelic metal, experimental metal, and groove metal. James Christopher Monger of AllMusic describes Mastodon as "one of the more notable new wave of American heavy metal acts, a genre spawned in the mid-90s" and says that "Mastodons innovative, lyrically astute blend of progressive metal, grindcore, and hardcore helped position the band as one of the preeminent metal acts of the early 21st century."
Bassist Troy Sanders stated about their musical style:
Scott Kelly of Neurosis has appeared to perform guest vocals on a track on every Mastodon album excluding Remission.
Mastodons musical style has evolved much from their earliest pre- Remission releases to The Hunter. Their early work is significantly heavier and more abrasive than their later work, primarily or exclusively using harsh vocals, more distorted instruments, and more atypical song structures; this is especially prominent in their earliest work. The release of Mastodons third studio album Blood Mountain, which incorporates both clean and harsh vocals, marked a shift in the vocal styles used, with subsequent albums favouring clean vocals almost exclusively.
2.2. Characteristics Lyrical themes
Over its first four albums, Mastodon had specific concepts in mind, specifically the classical elements of fire, water, earth, and aether.
Remission does not deal with a particular theme but it is loosely based on the theme of fire. Songs like "Crusher Destroyer", "Where Strides the Behemoth" and "Ole Nessie" deal with the theme of fictional creatures.
Leviathan is about the novel Moby-Dick. It centers around the main characters and their thoughts during the story.
Blood Mountain is about a man who is searching for the "Crystal Skull", which is on top of the "Blood Mountain". According to bassist Troy Sanders, "Its about climbing up a mountain and the different things that can happen to you when youre stranded on a mountain, in the woods, and youre lost. Youre starving, hallucinating, running into strange creatures. Youre being hunted. Its about that whole struggle."
Crack the Skye deals with many different themes. The title, as well as some lyrical content, is a tribute to Skye, the younger sister of drummer Brann Dailor, who committed suicide at the age of fourteen. Themes touched on within the album include "dark magick, astral travelling and the role of Rasputin in the downfall of Czarist Russia".
The Hunter does not deal with an entire concept like their earlier work. The title is a tribute to Hinds brother, Brad Hinds, who died of a heart attack on December 4, 2010 while hunting.
Once More Round the Sun, like its predecessor, is not a concept album. It features themes such as relationships, struggles and hardships. The album was based on the various events that took place in each band members lives the year before the album release.
Emperor of Sand mainly deals with the themes of death and survival and is about a desert wanderer faced with a death sentence. The lyrics were inspired by the friends and family members of the band members who were diagnosed with cancer.
3.1. Visual art Artwork
Artist Paul Romano was responsible for all of the bands album art and backdrops up to 2011. The artwork for the bands fifth studio album The Hunter was made by AJ Fosik, a woodcarver who was also responsible for the backdrop the band used live at the time. Oakland-based artist Skinner, who, in his own words, specializes in "psychedelic nightmare paintings", has taken the reins on Once More Round the Sun. "Its going to be a work of art for sure. Its going to be very eye-opening", said bassist Troy Sanders before the albums release. "Very striking. Its from another dimension, and a lot of our music is geared toward that idea - taking you to another planet on songs. Its out there, and I think its incredible."
3.2. Visual art Live presentation
Following their first tours in the early 2000s, Mastodon have performed at many major festivals such as Download, Roskilde, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Big Day Out, Rock Werchter, Pinkpop, Metaltown, Ottawa Bluesfest, Sonisphere and Soundwave. When performing the band has traditionally had a fairly lo-fi visual presentation. However, during the bands "Crack The Skye Tour" 2009–2010, they used a large screen behind the drumkit showing a visual show.
4. Legacy and reception
The "sludge/stoner/alternative metal outfit" Mastodon, as labelled by AllMusic, is "one of the preeminent metal acts of the early 21st century". The BBC stated about Mastodon: "They might be bonkers of lyric, full of fantasy mumbo jumbo, but the band is unashamedly committed to its complex-of-composition craft, and the results have frequently stunned ever since their 2002 debut, Remission. They are the most ambitious, most fearless, most fun heavy metal band to have breached the mainstream since the genre oozed its way out of The Midlands in the 1970s." Alternative Press has stated: "Mastodon are one of the all-time great hard-rock groups." Rolling Stone stated: "Mastodon are a bunch of doom-haunted, myth-obsessed, meat-and-potatoes Southern badasses who have become the most important new band in metal."
- Leviathan 2004
- Remission 2002
- The Hunter 2011
- Crack the Skye 2009
- Emperor of Sand 2017
- Blood Mountain 2006
- Once More Round the Sun 2014
- Cold Dark Place 2017
- Lifesblood 2001
- the second single from Crack the Skye by American progressive metal band Mastodon It is their second - most successful single and song from Crack the Skye
- Cold Dark Place is an EP by American metal band Mastodon It was released digitally and on CD on September 22, 2017 via Reprise Records, and a limited - edition
- Mastodon is the only box set released by the American heavy metal band of the same name. It features all of their material released by Relapse Records
- release by American progressive metal band Mastodon released on February 21, 2006 through Relapse Records and marks the band s final release through the company
- song by American progressive metal band Mastodon The song was released as the third and final single from the band s sixth studio album, Once More Round
- Steambreather is a song by American heavy metal band Mastodon It was the second single off of their album Emperor of Sand, the follow - up to first single
- live CD DVD by the metal band Mastodon It was released on March 15, 2011. It was filmed on October 17, 2009 during a Mastodon live show in the historic
- Curl of the Burl is a single by American heavy metal band Mastodon from their fifth studio album, The Hunter. It was released August 16, 2011, as the
- Oblivion EP is the second EP by Atlanta - based sludge metal band Mastodon It was released via the internet on November 4, 2009. This EP is only for sale
- progressive metal band Mastodon The album s title track was originally released on the band s debut, Remission. All tracks are written by Mastodon except where
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