Mastodon have opened up on the 18 months of personal heartache, anguish and grief that eventually led to the creation of their upcoming 7th album Emperor Of Sand.
The follow-up to 2014’s Once More ‘Round The Sun will be released on March 31 – and with the launch just around the corner, all four members of the band have given an exclusive interview in the new issue of Metal Hammer detailing the turbulent period leading up to its release.
In the past year and a half, the band have been beset with their own personal battles.
Troy Sanders’ wife Jeza has been battling breast cancer, Bill Kelliher lost his mother to a brain tumour, Brann Dailor’s mother was taken ill after suffering chronic illnesses her entire life, and Brent Hinds was involved in a motorcycle accident which resulted in a broken leg.
But the band channelled those experiences to create Emperor Of Sand.
Hinds tells Metal Hammer: “Mastodon is our way of going on. Mastodon is our therapy.
“The band was getting so deep that I could barely play a song without crying a lot of times. The new album is really emotional, and when you listen to it as a co-creator, as I am with my fellows, and they have had these horrible incidents happening in their lives with cancer affecting their loved ones, I absorb their hurt. It’s really sad.”
Sanders adds: “When you have a giant journey of adversity in front of you, the quickest way to the finish line is straight ahead.”
- Mastodon release new song Andromeda
- Watch Linkin Park’s emotional new video for Heavy
- Listen to new Mastodon track Show Yourself
- Read Classic Rock, Metal Hammer & Prog for free with TeamRock+
The album title is an allegory for cancer, with Dailor revealing that to flesh out the concept behind Emperor Of Sand, he watched old movies and read books about ancient Egypt.
He continues: “I basically watched Lawrence Of Arabia over and over again. When I talked with the album cover artist, Alan Brown, I said, ‘The Emperor is cancer and it needs to look like that. He needs to look like someone who kills without remorse – this powerful fucking embodiment of evil who doesn’t even care.’
“When I finally saw the album cover, I thought, ‘Oh man, that’s it. That’s the guy. He’s the one who killed all of those people.’”
The full interview can be found in the new issue of Metal Hammer which is out now. Mastodon are the cover stars, while artists including Rammstein, Ghost, Volbeat, Creeper, Machine Head and Behemoth frontman Nergal also feature in the magazine.
Mastodon will head out on the road from next month across North America. They’ll then return to Europe in June for several dates, including an appearance at the UK’s Download festival.
Mastodon Emperor Of Sand tracklist
- Sultan’s Curse
- Show Yourself
- Precious Stones
- Roots Remain
- Word To The Wise
- Ancient Kingdom
- Scorpion Breath
- Jaguar God
Mastodon 2017 tour dates
Apr 14: Missoula Wilma Theater, MT
Apr 15: Seattle Paramount Theater, WA
Apr 16: Portland Roseland Theater, OR
Apr 18: San Francisco The Warfield, CA
Apr 20: Hollywood Palladium, CA
Apr 21: Phoenix Comercia Theatre, AZ
Apr 22: Las Vegas Las Rageous, NV
Apr 23: Salt Lake City Complex, UT
Apr 24: Denver Fillmore, CO
Apr 26: Kansas City Uptown Theater, MO
Apr 27: St louis The Pageant, MO
Apr 28: Birmingham Iron City, AL
Apr 29: Jacksonville Welcome To Rockville, FL
Apr 30: Fort Myers Fort Rock, FL
May 02: Washington Fillmore, DC
May 03: Toronto Rebel, ON
May 04: Cleveland Agora Theater, OH
May 05: Concord Carolina Rebellion, NC
May 06: Philadelphia Electric Factory Outdoors, PA
May 08: Boston House Of Blues, MA
May 09: Portland State Theater, ME
May 11: New York Hammerstein Ballroom, NY
May 12: Pittsburgh Stage AE, PA
May 13: Chicago Aragon Ballroom, IL
May 14: Cincinnati Taft Theatre, OH
May 16: Detroit Royal Oak Theater, MI
May 17: Nashville Ryman Auditorium, TN
May 18: Memphis Minglewood Hall, TN
May 19: Dallas Gas Monkey Live, TX
May 20: Austin ACL Live, TX
Jun 09: Download Festival, UK
Jun 11: Bretigny Sur Orge Base Aerienne 217, France
Jun 18: Dessel Graspop, Belgium