MASTODON (1999–PRESENT). Troy Sanders (vocals/bass), Brent Hinds (vocals/guitar), Bill Kelliher (bass), Brann Dailor (drums), Eric Saner (lead vocals on demo).
Mastadon is one the most powerful and influential metal crossover bands of the past decade and one of the bands credited with the resurgence of American metal. The band redefines the idea of “heavy” music, even while working on extremely complex math rock riffs in combination with idea-driven lyrics. This included a concept record about Moby Dick in their classic Leviathan release, which set new standards for post-hardcore influenced metal vocals and multi-layered guitar parts. In an interview in Rolling Stone magazine, bassist and singer Troy Sanders explained that they chose the name of the band based on the fact that “the mastadon was this lumbering Beast. It creates the idea of the Music we want to create: Just a Powerhouse” (O’Donnell 2008, 40).
The band got its wish, at times lumbering and at times ferocious, often within the same song, Mastadon simply reeks of power. Mastodon came out of the influential noise metal band Today is the Day, which featured Dailor and Kelliher as the rhythm section. Mastodon soon became the heaviest band and one of the most musically intricate bands in metal’s history, fusing post-hardcore with math-like precision over lumbering metal riffs. As powerful as metal should be and seldom has been.
Discography: Lifesblood (Relapse, 2001); Remission (Relapse, 2001); Leviathan (Relapse, 2004); Call of the Mastadon (Relapse, 2006); Blood Mountain (Warner Brothers, 2006); Crack the Skye (Reprise, 2009).