Drummer-singer-lyricist Brann Dailor of Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON spoke to Rolling Stone about the band's upcoming album, which is tentatively due in the spring. The as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2014's "Once More 'Round The Sun" was once again helmed by famed producer Brendan O'Brien, who first collaborated with the band on their 2009 groundbreaking concept album "Crack The Skye".
MASTODON recorded the new disc at the Quarry in Kennesaw, Georgia before moving to Henson Studios in Los Angeles for the mixing stage. Songtitles set to appear on the disc include "Show Yourself", "Precious Stones" and "Your Own Blood".
According to Dailor, MASTODON's new album grapples with themes of mortality and was inspired by seeing close friends and family diagnosed with cancer in recent years.
"Time is a very big theme of the album," Dailor tells Rolling Stone. "How much time do we have left? What are we doing with our time?"
"I get a little movie going in my head about a situation and I start writing about that," he adds. "I try really hard to make it personal and relatable and not too esoteric. It's embarrassing to write lyrics. I'm a drummer, and I sing a little bit. Together we tackle these things and we figure it out — how to be this vocally driven band that has three people singing that don't want to sing."
He adds: "It's about going through cancer, going through chemotherapy and all the things associated with that. I didn't want to be literal about it. But it's all in there. You can read between the lines."
Regarding the musical direction of MASTODON's next album, guitarist Bill Kelliher told GuitarMania: "It's a little bit of the same as the last album, but I think it goes even deeper in certain areas — a couple of more psychedelic parts, a little more technical parts. There are a couple of new places we haven't gone before. So it's just kind of a continuation of the last record to me, but even deeper."
"Once More 'Round The Sun" sold around 34,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart. The record arrived in stores on June 24, 2014 via Reprise Records.