Mastodon is in every way a gargantuan presence in the metal world, so it's only fitting the band's name is that of a mammoth. Even the band's lyrical content consistently follows a theme of epic, mystical creatures, from the Moby Dick-inspired great whale on their album Leviathan to the Cysquatch (a one-eyed, clairvoyant Sasquatch) on Blood Mountain.
“I've always been fascinated with monsters and mythological creatures,” Brann Dailor, drummer and lyricist said. “I saw Clash of the Titans when I was a kid and thought that was awesome. As soon as we started doing Mastodon it seemed like it started to come out in the lyrics and everything.”
For this particular subject matter, no genre is more fitting than Mastodon's mixture of crushing, blaring metal and sweeping, melodic progressive rock. It was a sound that came natural to Dailor. His mother was in a cover band, and since birth he had been exposed to Judas Priest and other juggernauts.
“I have lots of pictures of me as a seven year old with long blond hair and a Screaming for Vengeance t-shirt on and fake leather pants,” he said.
Dailor began playing drums along to Scorpions and Judas Priest albums at four years old, but it wasn't until years later when he met up with Mastodon's full lineup that he found the perfect group of people to perform with. The lineup has remained unchanged since late 2000, and they show no signs of altering the group in any way.
“We realize that we really can't do it without the four of us,” he said. “That's what makes it special.”
After 13 years and five full-length studio albums, the band shows no sign of slowing down. The guys are currently working on their newest as-of-yet untitled album, a record they're very secretive about, though Dailor admits, “It's a lot heavier than I imagined it was going to be.”
Aside from working on their new album, they'll be touring extensively, something they've been doing nearly non-stop since their formation. While they won't be playing any tracks off the new album at live shows anytime soon, their Grand Rapids stop at the Intersection should still prove intense.
“That's how this music should be received, it's a live experience,” Dailor said. “The album is merely a promotional item for the big rock show.”