Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Biography :

Mastodon is an American metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, formed in 1999. 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 to date, expanding their musical borders from early raw sludge and post-hardcore riffs to later psychedelic multi-layered songs, yet maintaining progressive style with unusual time signatures and odd instrumentation.

History :

Formation and early years (1999–2003)

Mastodon was formed in late 1999 when drummer Brann Dailor and guitarist Bill Kelliher moved to Atlanta from Rochester, New York 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 each of Mastodon's first three full-length albums the last track relates to the Elephant Man.

Leviathan (2004–2005)

Brent Hinds, Troy Sanders and Brann Dailor in 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.

Also, Leviathan's lead track Blood and Thunder was featured in the soundtracks for the video games Need for Speed: Most Wanted Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010 video game) Project Gotham Racing 3, Saints Row and was added to "Guitar Hero: Metallica" as a playable track on all instruments. "Blood and Thunder" was also licensed song to the Japanese arcade music games Drummania V2 and Guitarfreaks V2.

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 band performed the song "Colony of Birchmen" 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. This song was also featured in the video games, Saints Row 2 and Rock Band 2.

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 had 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 Milwaukee had to be canceled due to illness on the part of Brent Hinds. Mastodon would play the Hove Festival in Norway 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 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 vocalist William Hudson, also known as Reverend William Burke of Achozen.

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". The instrumental versions of the songs "Crack the Skye" and "Oblivion" are also included in the 2009 video game BrĂ¼tal Legend.

Band Members :

Current Members :

* Troy Sanders – Bass, Occasional Keyboards, Vocals (1999–present)
* Brent Hinds – Guitar, Vocals (1999–present)
* Bill Kelliher – Guitar, Backing Vocals (1999–present)
* Brann Dailor – Drums, Vocals (1999–present)

Former Members :

* Eric Saner – Vocals (1999–2000)

Discography :

* Mastodon - Remission (2002)
* Mastodon - Leviathan (2004)
* Mastodon - Blood Mountain (2006)
* Mastodon - Crack the Skye (2009)

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