Mastodon's latest album, "Once More 'Round the Sun," actually took a few revolutions before the Atlanta heavy metal quartet knew what kind of album it was making.
"It didn't really hit its path until the end," recalls drummer Brann Dailor, who co-wrote eight of the 11 tracks on the group's sixth studio album, which debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 as well as No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums chart. "We weren't really sure what it was going to be. We had some extra stuff, extra songs, and I wasn't really sure what was going to happen."
At one point, Dailor says, Mastodon even considered making a double album in order to accommodate all the material, but he adds "that didn't seem like the best idea, especially these days when the attention span of your average listener is getting shorter and shorter. Some songs that deserved full attention wouldn't get full attention because they'd be lost amongst the hour and a half's worth of music."
In the end, after some long discussions and difficult decisions, Dailor and his mates -- bassist Troy Sanders and guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher -- decided to play to what most would consider Mastodon's strength.
"It sort of was revealed that we had more upbeat kind of rockers than slow jams, so it made sense to do that, and since it was coming out in the summertime it felt like it was the right thing to do, too," Dailor, 39, explains. "We're always looking for surprises to reveal themselves in the music and we follow those surprises around to get more.
"We just use our natural, sort of built-in barometers of Mastodon and just go wherever those take us. We each have a divining rod, and we jsut let it point us in the direction it wants to go and we follow it around until we come up with the coolest thing."
Dailor says that, as the title indicates, "Once More 'Round the Sun" -- which includes guest appearances from Scott Kelly of Neurosis, Valient Thorr's Valient HImself, the Coathanger and the late Jack White/Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens -- deals with "a year in the life of Mastodon," and not just being on the road. That, he notes, helps account for a lyrical tone that's as heavy as its music.
"There's some big things that happened this past year, and the album is sort of a sideline story to that," Dailor says. "It was one of those years; everyone has 'em, but it seemed like every member of the band was going through their own personal hell for a bit there. It was just like, 'Omigod, I want this (year) to be over." But Dailor isn't up to dishing about exactly what was happening.
"I can't, really, because these are things that are still happening, but hopefully they will resolve themselves soon," he says. "It's unfortunate, but the best thing you can do with something that is make some beautiful music out of it, which I think we did."
Mastodon, Gojira and Kvelertak
Friday, Oct. 24. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.
Tickets are $25 and $35.
Call 313-961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.
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