Mastodon have had a pretty unique career path. Starting off as progressive sludge metal band, they have grown and evolved. Never truly leaving behind their original sound but always adapting and changing it. All of this has led to everything from appearances on Jools Holland to their latest album entering the top ten on the album charts for both the UK and America, but where do a band like Mastodon go from here? Can they go any higher than they currently are?
Well yea, of course they can. The question is how they go about doing that. Once More ‘Round the Sun is by far the most commerical they they have ever done, but it is not really commercial. I mean it closes with a track that is nearly 8 minutes long and features Scott Kelly from Neurosis, it is hardly going to be catching Syco’s eye. However, with this album and The Hunter, it is clear Mastodon are becoming more comfortable with that stripped back rock sound that they have used on tracks like “Curl of the Burl”. Does this mean Mastodon are heading towards their Black Album moment? Are we about to see them explode Metallica style?
I honestly don’t think so. Mastodon are still too much of a metal band and far too proggy to ever truly make themselves a mainstream band. Yet I can’t help but feel that Mastodon are onto something big. They might never be played on Radio 1, but they are rising, slowly and naturally, to the top of the heavy metal food chain. As I mentioned in my Sonisphere review someone that I camped with (hello Andrew if you read this) posed the possible suggestion that Mastodon would headline Bloodstock next year. It’s a possibility that I think is very much real. Bloodstock seem to like giving bands their UK festival headline slot, see someone like Lamb of God and Mastodon are surely the next big band that still fit within the Bloodstock ethos. Now obviously Bloodstock is a much smaller festival than Download or Sonisphere, but such a move for a band ,that presumably still have quite a long future ahead of them, would seem to suggest that the metal industry in the UK has faith in Mastodon.
Can Mastodon ever headline Download? Damn right they can. I can easily see them taking up the Tool spot in recent years. The slightly out there, eccentric band who turn up every few years in a headline spot and remind us all just how kick ass they are. These guys have found something special that appears to have allowed them to outgrow the genres they may well be associated with and in doing so I genuinely think they are heading towards something massive. Tracks like “Aunt Lisa” and “High Road” off of Once More Around the Sun are the quality of tracks that get people noticed and while Mastodon have long been loved by metal fans, this may well be their chance to get noticed by those further up the chain.