The anticipation of getting to play Once More ‘Round The Sun – Mastodon’s sixth full-length album – has finally overcome drummer Brann Dailor. He has reached the point where he wants everyone to hear all of his band’s new album and to start playing it live. “I am so excited to start bringing this album to people,” exclaims Dailor, his voice almost seeming to quake with anticipation. “We’ve had two songs from the album, “High Road” and “Chimes At Midnight,” in the set for a little while now and people have been really, really excited about “High Road” in particular, but I want more; I’m ready to start playing the whole thing right now.
“I’m pretty happy to say that we like what we’ve done on Once More ‘Round The Sun,” continues the drummer. “I think that means something because we have to stand behind it, you know? We hope the fans like it, but we can’t just make it for the fans; I do think we really have to feel it too. I mean, if it’s honest and true – if it resonates with us – it’s bound to resonate with someone else.”While Dailor clearly doesn’t want to be so forthright as to come out and say it, it’s a pretty good bet that Mastodon fans will be positively blown away by Once More ‘Round The Sun. From the beginning of “Tread Lightly,” the band just pours on the power and doesn’t let up for the duration of the album’s hour-long run-time; here, Mastodon hits listeners with a staggering wall of sound which is at once huge (producer Nick Raskulinecz has stacked layers of guitar on top of Troy Sanders’ writhing bass lines and Dailor’s elemental drum patterns) as well as meticulously composed.
The baroque arrangements hit listeners first like a force of nature, and then surround them so that they are immersed in the experience. Songs like “The Motherload” (which is aptly titled), “Aunt Lisa” and “Halloween” feature a wealth of stylistic diversity (metal is only the beginning – elements of math rock, punk rock and prog play active roles in those songs to fantastic effect), and it will be easy for listeners to become perfectly lost in the songs as the album progresses. “I love the way this album turned out,” gushes Dailor as he recalls the process of making Once More ‘Round The Sun. “There was a lot of time put into the songs though – we did a lot of the writing while we were on tour promoting The Hunter. Bill was writing riffs and ideas while we were on tour; he had his Pro Tools rig out and his guitar out and would just play riffs and write constantly.
“When the dust settled and we got home, got rested and got ready to get back into a room together to be creative, that’s when things started to come out and we all just sort of ganged up on it and knocked it out,” continues the drummer, almost cavalierly. “It wasn’t perfectly smooth, but nothing about it was forced because we knew it couldn’t be; if we tried to force it, that would be a very dangerous thing. This time, it really did take us a whole year to see what this album was going to be and we really had to let it grow freely. It might have taken a little longer this time, but that’s cool – we trusted our instincts and got what we wanted. It was a group effort for sure – myself, Troy and Brent all chipped in on the songs all along the way. I feel like we’re a true band in in that regard; we all chip in on everything because it takes all of our input to get it done. It’s a lot of work but we get it done with teamwork. We’re all inherently kind of lazy but, when we’re together, we’re a good team. I feel like a true Mastodon song is one that everyone in the band has had a say in and touched in some way, and every one on Once More ‘Round The Sun took that to get done.”
With Once More ‘Round The Sun out now and already getting a lot of attention around the cybersphere, that Mastodon will have a pretty tremendous number of fans expecting to lay eyes on the band this summer seems like a foregone conclusion. The band has been pro-active on that front, having done a three-week North American tour as well as having appeared at Bonnaroo and Amnesia Rockfest in the six weeks before release day, but now the real touring grind begins in Europe, and then finally returns to North America in September.
“This summer we’re going to be in the air a lot,” laughs Dailor as he recalls what Mastodon’s itinerary for the summer of 2014 is set to include. “We’ll probably rack up platinum Delta Air Miles numbers by the end of the summer. I won’t complain about that though, because I’m really excited to take this album out and play it for people! I love the album and am really excited to be bringing it to people nightly! Truly – I think we made another kick-ass Mastodon record. I’m really proud of the guys in the band because I think they really stepped up vocally and musically, and I can’t wait to show the world what we’ve done with this album.”
For a regularly updated list of tour dates for Mastodon: http://www.pollstar.com/resultsArtist.aspx?ID=35489&SearchBy=Mastodon
Once More ‘Round The Sun has debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, Mastodon’s highest chart debut ever.