Southern-Sludge Metal overlords, Mastodon, have a new full length waiting to be released around the corner, and after last week’s leak of the track “High Road” the band has been somewhat enthusiastically dropping factoids about the album with every passing day. For those of you who enjoy smoking the good stuff with your Metal playlist on, you are in for a treat! The band has slowly and slyly obliterated the border between their music and the subject matter of psychedelia, if the artwork is allowed to speak for itself.
I’d be happier than anyone if the artwork and the track title are co-related (and smart money says they probably are), but then I don’t even have to, because the band just unveiled the artwork for the album itself… Set your phasers to STUN.
The band also revealed the official track-listing:
Once More ‘Round The Sun:
1. Tread Lightly
2. The Motherload
3. High Road
4. Once More ‘Round the Sun
5. Chimes at Midnight
6. Asleep in the Deep
7. Feast Your Eyes
8. Aunt Lisa
9. Ember City
11. Diamond in the Witch House (featuring Scott Kelly of Neurosis)
Guitarist Bill Kelliher had the following to comment when he spoke to Loudiwre about the change in the band’s sound with respect to the vocal style transitioning into cleaner, practiced, measured deliveries akin to the jarring screams the band was famous for.
“Yeah, in regards that a lot of the stuff on the new record is very verse / chorus based. A lot of it was built as ‘less is more.’ We’ve done our really complex, mathy and even proggy records, but I think we write our best stuff when we strip it away from there. We focus on clear verses and choruses and add the proggy stuff in — salt and pepper it.
I feel like we’ve done that in the past, where something wasn’t complicated enough, so let’s make it more complicated. It’s like, no, let’s make the song simpler. It took us a while to sound as good as I feel like it does. It’s very clean sounding and with a lot of really catchy verses and choruses going on.”
Kelliher justified the reason behind the sudden change which has cost the band some of their older fans:
“Lately I’ve noticed we’ve been doing lots of warm-ups, listening to vocal takes, taking voice lessons: stuff you need to do to keep your voice in shape. I would never have thought 10 years ago what we’d be doing in 2014. Now we’re taking voice lessons and warming up our vocals cords before a show. Just getting all professional, you know what I mean?
I think us screaming and yelling is kind of a thing of the past. But also, our music back then lends itself to more of that style of screaming because the music was really in that direction. We just kind of wrote in any old fashion, just kind of let it fly, let the shit fly.
We didn’t really know how to write songs, we just kind of threw riffs together and screamed over it and people liked it. I guess we just kind of matured and maybe we lost some fans who liked that about us, but we can’t continue to write like that on purpose. Every record to me is a snapshot of the frame of mind our band was in, who we were as people when we wrote those riffs.
I think it gets harder and harder as you get older to keep screaming and screaming and screaming about shit, you know? I think the songs we write are getting a little more rock, a little bit of rock going on and little more thought behind the groove. We’re constantly evolving and are more about the groove and feel rather than just playing as fast as we can or sounding as complicated as possible.
Let’s put more of our effort into writing a song that feels like something Zeppelinwould do, AC/DC or Black Sabbath. They didn’t play as fast or as slow as they could, they just made songs. I think we’re slowly gravitating towards that in an organic fashion.”
Though the band has a pretty solid case in terms of how it is expected of a music outfit to mature with the release of every album, many are concerned about how the band would fare live when it comes to pulling up those perfect to scale/pitch choruses. Given also the fact that the band is yet to disappoint anyone in any major ways and that they have always delivered good soild Siludgy greatness with each record, it is expected that they would hold true to their word.
Mastodon are due to play with Gojira and Kvelertak soon. Till then jam away to their dope single from last week: