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Mastodon is an American heavy metal band from Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker, formed in 1999. They are one of the most notable bands in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. The band comprises bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds, guitarist Bill Kelliher and drummer Brann Dailor. They have released four full-length albums and have toured worldwide, achieving increased album sales and an ever expanding fan base with each new release. In 2007, the band earned a Grammy Award nomination.


Formation and early years (1999–2003)

Mastodon was formed in late 1999 when drummer Brann Dailor and guitarist Bill Kelliher moved to Atlantamarker from Rochester, New Yorkmarker and met bassist/singer Troy Sanders and guitarist/singer Brent Hinds at a High on Fire show. They discovered they had a mutual appreciation of sludge metal bands Melvins and Neurosis and '70s hard-rockers Thin Lizzy, and shortly thereafter formed Mastodon. In an interview in 2009, Kelliher revealed that the first time Hinds attended a practice with the band, he "showed up so wasted he couldn't play".

They recorded a demo in 2000, which featured the band's first lead singer, Eric Saner on vocals. Saner left the band for personal reasons after just a couple of months. After recording a four song demo and a 7-inch picture disc through Reptilian Records, Mastodon landed a record deal with Relapse Records in 2001. They released an EP, Lifesblood in 2001 and their first full-length album, Remission, was released in 2002, with the singles "March of the Fire Ants" and "Crusher/Destroyer" (which was also featured on Tony Hawk's Underground). On the first three of Mastodon's full-length albums, the last track of each relates to the Elephant Man.

Leviathan (2004–2005)

Brent Hinds and Troy Sanders 2004
Their album Leviathan was released in 2004 to critical acclaim; the band won Album of the Year awards from Kerrang! and Terrorizer and was named second best by Metal Hammer. Leviathan was also rated 3rd best album in the last 20 years by Metal Hammer. Leviathan is a concept album loosely based on Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick. After the release of Leviathan, the band went on to play in The Unholy Alliance tour in 2004 in Europe with Slayer and Slipknot. The track "Blood and Thunder" features Neil Fallon, of the band Clutch, on lead vocals during the last verse of the song. Mastodon had previously toured with Clutch in 2002 and 2003.

Leviathan was followed by two releases: The Call of the Mastodon, a remastering and remixing of the band's first nine songs, and The Workhorse Chronicles, a DVD of interviews and concert footage, including material from the band's early days as a five-piece. These two releases were Mastodon's last for Relapse records, they would go on to sign with Warner Bros.. Before the release of their next album, Mastodon recorded a cover version of the Metallica instrumental "Orion". This was for a Kerrang! magazine special CD called Master of Puppets: Remastered honoring the 20-year anniversary of the release of the album Master of Puppets by Metallica.

NPR recently included Leviathan lead track Blood and Thunder in its list of the 50 most important recordings of the decade.

Blood Mountain (2006–2008)

Their third studio album was eventually released on September 12, 2006 followed by the band going on tour to support the album, touring with Tool in Europe and Slayer in Australia and New Zealand. The Mars Volta frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala lent his vocals to the track "Siberian Divide." Similarly, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme contributed vocals for the song "Colony of Birchmen," and in a hidden track on the album contains a spoken-word piece from him, claiming to be a big fan and that he uploaded their new album on the internet. Before the release of Blood Mountain, Mastodon was a part of the North American Unholy Alliance tour. An online promotional Blood Mountain computer game was even made available.

The song "Colony of Birchmen" was nominated for Best Metal Performance in the 49th Annual Grammy Awards but lost to Slayer's "Eyes of the Insane" from their album Christ Illusion. In addition, the band performed the song on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien on November 1, their first appearance on network television, to a viewing audience of around 2.4 million people.

The band's first single off Blood Mountain, "Capillarian Crest" was ranked number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 100 Songs of 2006. The album itself was ranked 9th in the magazine's best albums of the year chart. The UK's Metal Hammer voted it the best album of 2006 in its end of year critic's poll. The album was voted in at #5 by Kerrang! in their end of year list. Also number 6 on PopMatters' Best Albums of 2006 and number 1 on The Best Metal Albums of 2006. rated it the top metal album of 2006. Blood Mountain was also named best album of 2006 in the 10th anniversary birthday edition (issue 119) of Bizarre. It also came in at #2 on Revolver magazine's list of the top albums of 2006. The band was named Artist Of The Month for March 2007 at

The band has been touring and playing numerous shows during this time. Mastodon joined Against Me!, and Cursive for a North American tour, with Planes Mistaken for Stars opening for one leg and These Arms Are Snakes the other. A performance in Milwaukeemarker had to be canceled due to illness on the part of Brent Hinds. Mastodon would play the Hove Festival in Norwaymarker as well as on the Main Stage of the Download Festival and then the Pitchfork Music Festival. During this time the band opened for Metallica on the Sick of the Studio tour. The band also played at the 2007 Dubai Desert Rock, the 2008 Bonnaroo Music festivals, and the inaugural Mayhem Festival. Mastodon then toured with Slayer, Trivium, Lamb of God and several other metal bands in 2008 for the The Unholy Alliance tour 2008.

The band performed "Colony of Birchmen" at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards live with Josh Homme. After the televised performance, member Brent Hinds was reported to have sustained a severe head injury. initially reported that it was the result of a brutal assault but the police report later suggested that an inebriated Hinds had started a fight with System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian and Cellador guitarist Bill Hudson. Hinds suffered brain hemorrhaging, a broken nose and two black eyes but has made a full recovery.

Crack the Skye (2009–present)

After extensive touring to support Blood Mountain and plenty of material composed, Mastodon entered Southern Tracks Studios to record their fourth album. Crack the Skye was released on March 24, 2009 as a normal version and a deluxe version (which includes all songs in instrumental versions as well as their normal versions) and entered the Billboard 200 at number 11 a week later. The album is produced by Brendan O'Brien and Scott Kelly of Neurosis returns as a guest musician on the title-track.In a MusicRadar interview, guitarist Bill Kelliher confirmed the album is about an "out of body experience," and looks at the concepts of astral travel, wormholes, Stephen Hawking's theories and the spiritual realm.The album follows a quadriplegic who learns astral projection. On his journey he flies too close to the sun, burning his umbilical cord which connects him to his body, and flies into oblivion. At the same time in Czarist Russia, Rasputin and his cult were channeling spirits and brought the quadriplegic to their time. He explains his situation and foretells the assassination of Rasputin. Inevitably Rasputin is assassinated and Rasputin guides him back to his body. The band had debuted three new tracks at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, but did not play anymore live before the album's release, due to fears of internet distribution and wanting to play the songs to the right audience. Drummer Brann Dailor has a section of vocals on the song "Oblivion" following the intro and chorus. Mastodon was a headliner at the Scion Rock Fest on February 28, 2009, performing a set containing three tracks from Crack the Skye, the first time these songs were played since being finalized and recorded.On May 15 2009, Mastodon performed a shortened version of "Oblivion" on The Late Show With David Letterman.

In order to support their new album, Mastodon toured with Metallica on the latter part of the 2009 European leg of their World Magnetic Tour. In Fall of 2009, They embarked with Dethklok on the "Adult Swim Presents" tour along with Converge and High on Fire. On October 17, 2009, they recorded a DVD documenting the tour at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Mastodon have been announced to play the alternative music festival "Big Day Out" next January and February. Mastodon will tour across Australia and New Zealand playing alongside notable bands such as; Muse, Lily Allen, Rise Against, Karnivool, Grinspoon, The Mars Volta, Eskimo Joe, Powderfinger and several other Australian and international bands.

On October 29, 2009 they performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

On November 4 Mastodon released their second EP, simply called Oblivion EP.

In popular culture

One of the tracks from Leviathan, "Blood and Thunder," was featured in the soundtracks for the video games Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Project Gotham Racing 3 and Saints Row. It was also a license song in the Japanese arcade music games Drummania V2 and Guitarfreaks V2. The song "Colony of Birchmen" was featured in Saints Row 2.

With the explosion of rhythm-based home video games the band has gained additional mainstream exposure. "Sleeping Giant" was made available as a downloadable song for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, and "Colony of Birchmen" was included on Harmonix's Rock Band 2. "Blood and Thunder" is also a part of Guitar Hero: Metallica. Mastodon also contributed a cover version of Harry Nilsson's "One" for the video game Army of Two's advertisement campaign. "Divinations" is featured in Madden NFL 10. The band members are fans of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and in 2007, Mastodon performed the opening song of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, "Cut You Up with a Linoleum Knife".

On September 2, 2009 it was announced that Mastodon were hand-picked by director Jimmy Hayward to compose the score for the upcoming movie Jonah Hex, a DC comic adaption. When asked what it was sounding like, the only response was, "Needless to say, pretty heavy!"


Band members

Current members

Former members
  • Eric Saner – vocals (1999–2000)

File:Mastodon Troy Sanders 2006.jpg|Troy SandersFile:Mastodon Brent Hinds.jpg|Brent HindsFile:Mastodon Bill Kelliher.jpg|Bill KelliherFile:Brann Dailor, Mastodon, Sonisphere 2009 (2).jpg|Brann Dailor


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