The new album marks the first release from the metal band since 2011’s The Hunter. Bassist and vocalist Troy Hunter said that Once More Round the Sun follows in the trimmer, tighter vein of that album. “A lot of people ask us if it kicks off where The Hunter left off,” he said. “And to a large degree, I suppose yes. We recorded it and took it on the road with us, and then we headed back to our rehearsal space and started working out ideas. I’ve had a lot of time to ingest this record, and it’s solid. It’s a large slab of granite. I’m once again completely proud of these guys.”
The band recorded the album late last year in Franklin, Tennessee, with guest work by Neurosis’ Scott Kelly and production by Nick Raskulinecz. After putting together the album, Mastodon discovered they had about 30 minutes of extra material they couldn’t fit into it, and Sanders said they hope to release the remainders as an additional EP after putting out the album.
Back in November, as the band was still working to trim down their material, drummer Brann Dailor spoke with Rolling Stone about the new album’s sound. “It’s gonna be massive and insane, lots of epic greatness,” he said. “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.”
Once More Round the Sun will feature cover art by Skinner, an Oakland-based artist who specializes in what he describes as “psychedelic nightmare paintings.” There’s no set release date yet for the album, but it’s slated for later this year on Warner Brothers Records, and Mastodon will kick off a North American tour on April 28th in Seattle.