Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON have announced details of their new album, their first since 2011's "The Hunter". The band's sixth CD will be called "Once More 'Round The Sun" and will be released by Reprise Records on June 24. It was recorded in Nashville with Grammy Award-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz, who is known for his work with RUSH, DEFTONES, FOO FIGHTERS and ALICE IN CHAINS.
The album's hard-hitting first single is "High Road", which was released digitally today (April 29), the same day a pre-order for "Once More 'Round The Sun" launches at all participating digital retailers. Pre-orders are being taken at MastodonRocks.com and all pre-orders will instantly receive a digital download of "High Road".
Also available on June 24 will be a stunning deluxe 2LP vinyl edition of "Once More 'Round The Sun". This limited edition will include two discs pressed onto 180-gram black vinyl housed in a quadruple gatefold vinyl jacket featuring artwork by renowned Oakland-based artist Skinner, who specializes in "psychedelic nightmare paintings," plus a CD of the complete album. The package will include four exclusive lithographs derived from the album artwork.
Those who preorder the deluxe vinyl edition will be entitled to bonus digital content: An instant download of "High Road", plus another album track (to be determined) delivered digitally prior to street date, and a download of the entire album delivered digitally on street date.
MASTODON singer and bassist Troy Sanders told Paste Magazine about the "Once More 'Round The Sun" cover artwork: "It's... a work of art for sure. It's... very eye-opening, very striking. It's from another dimension, and a lot of our music is geared toward that idea — taking you to another planet on songs. It's out there, and I think it's incredible."
"Once More 'Round The Sun" track listing:
01. Tread Lightly
02. The Motherload
03. High Road
04. Once More 'Round The Sun
05. Chimes At Midnight
06. Asleep In The Deep
07. Feast Your Eyes
08. Aunt Lisa
09. Ember City
11. Diamond In The Witch House (feat. Scott Kelly of NEUROSIS)
Regarding the new MASTODON album title, Sanders told Paste Magazine: "The idea was generated before we recorded the title track on the record, but the title was thought up many months ago.
"After we finished the two-year touring cycle on our last record, 'The Hunter', we were kind of gearing up to go back to our rehearsal space in Atlanta. And we were starting the effort, the time, the blood, the energy, the months of driving, the recording and the long process between recording and the release day.
"In a nutshell: we're fortunate enough to do this again, but there's this feeling of this yearly cycle. It's not a bad thing. We get to go tour a bunch, we get to record a bunch of songs we love. It's embracing the positive — the wonderful side, to be able to have the same four dudes who love doing what we do so much. And like anything in the MASTODON world, it's open to interpretation."
According to Sanders, MASTODON recorded more than an album's worth of material this time around, with the possibility an additional EP coming out sometime after the album release.
"We didn't want a 90-minute album," he told Paste Magazine. "We like to record around the 60-minute mark. That's what our favorite records are. We're in love with all 15 of [the songs], so they might all see the light of day in some platform or another."
Regarding the song "Diamonds In The Witch House", which features yet another guest spot from longtime collaborator Scott Kelly of NEUROSIS, Sanders joked: "I think subconsciously that we're trying to involve him with every album enough to have a full set of songs eventually. I think his performance is great, his part still gives me chills. That's a great sign."
Asked what it's been like working with Raskulinecz on the new album, MASTODON guitarist Bill Kelliher told Metal Hammer magazine: "It's something that we totally need — a cheerleader to get our asses in gear. There he is saying, 'Come on, you're MASTODON… you're one of the biggest bands in metal… Smash that hammer down and write some heavy shit. It's time to do or die!' He's that kind of a guy."
MASTODON drummer Brann Dailor recently told RollingStone.com about the band's forthcoming CD: "It's gonna be massive and insane, lots of epic greatness. There will be lots of huge riffs and new directions. It's real weird, real math-y, real straightforward. It's up, down and all around. It's a culmination of everything for the band. The snowball keeps rolling and collecting snow."