Watch Mastodon’s hallucinogenic, horror-themed Adult Swim Festival set

(Image credit: Adult Swim)

There aren’t many obvious upsides to the shutdown of the global live music scene, but we’ve noticed that bands have been getting increasingly creative with their livestream performances, aiming to push beyond standard live-in-the-studio set-ups. Mastodon’s performance at last weekend’s Adult Swim Festival 2020 event is a case in point, with the Atlanta quartet donning fluorescent face paint and surrounding themselves with skeletons, twerking dancing girls and assorted freaky visuals.

None of which would matter that much if their set wasn’t up to scratch, obviously, but with the band hammering through a live debut of Asleep In The Deep (from 2014’s Once More ‘Round The Sun), before serving up ferocious versions of Thickening, Steambreather, The Motherload and Blood And Thunder, that was never in question.

The band have also posted a new photo from the studio, indicating that work upon their follow-up to 2017’s Emperor Of Sand album has begun in earnest. According to drummer Brann Dailor, Mastodon have 30 new songs demoed for what weill be their eighth studio album, balanced between “doomy” songs and “rippers”.


“We have way too much material, which I guess is a good thing, but also it's very difficult for us to narrow it down at this point,” Dailor told 100.3 The X Rocks recently. “We've had so much time — as everyone has — to be creative and be in the studio and write new stuff that now we have, like, 30 songs demoed, and we need to pare it down to about 12.”

“We need an outside entity to come in that we trust to say, ‘These are the songs’, but that’s probably not gonna happen, so it’s gonna be up to us to put our big-boy pants on and make a decision,” he said. "But there's a few different ways that we could do things, so we are just sort of debating those things… Do we wanna do a full kind of doom-leaning album and then, a few months down the road, record the rippers and put a ripper album out? I don't know. So we're still sort of deciding how we wanna approach it.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.