362: MASTODON

It’s easy to forget at times how young of a band Mastodon are. I mean, they certainly aren’t young young, but the first of their eight full length albums is still 6 months of its 20th anniversary. With the breadth and evolution of Mastodon’s output, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a band that has being going strong for over thirty years.

Mastodon’s sound has grown and matured substantially since 2002’s ‘Remission’ but they’ve remained consistent enough that you can often pick their instrumentation within 20 seconds. Taking a sludge metal/alternative metal sound which has become increasingly progressive and multilayered as the years have progressed has seen Mastodon’s popularity skyrocket. They are frequent festival main stage performer all around the world, and have amassed a global following, becoming one of the biggest names in modern metal.

Mastodon are masters of the ‘ear worm’, offering countless big metal tracks over the years that have such irresistible hooks and melodies that they will stick with you for weeks, if not longer.

Another thing that sets Mastodon apart from its peers is the it’s roster. Mastodon’s lineup has been the same for all 8 of its albums – Brent Hinds on lead guitar, Troy Sanders on bass, Bill Kelliher on rhythm guitar, and Brann Dailor on drums. All four are masters are their respective instrument, with unique play styles that, together, make Mastodon a sonic juggernaut.

But further to that, three of them – Hinds, Sanders, and Dailor – all regularly take turns at the lead vocalist role. And this is not from song to song, but often interchanging between all three within a single song. All three have unique vocal styles and the band clearly knows how to utilise the three different voices, always using the must suitable of the three for any given section.

Honestly, the genius of how Mastodon utilises its three vocalists cannot be understated, especially in their last few albums. All three vocalists are absolute powerhouses, and each is used to their own strength and the songs are all the more better for it.

Many of Mastodon’s albums are concept albums, with concepts ranging from Moby Dick, to astral traversal, being lost on a mountain, and more. Yet, it is their 2021 release, ‘Hushed & Grim’, that offers their most expansive, powerful performance to date. Clocking in an almost 1.5hrs, the 15 track opus is a culmination of Mastodon’s last two decades.

It’s hard to imagine what Mastodon will do next, as ‘Hushed & Grim’ is one hell of an act to follow, but there’s no doubt that what ever it is, it’ll be worth paying attention to.