Progressive metal outfit Mastodon will release their seventh album, Emperor of Sand, March 31st via Reprise Records.
The Georgia-based group unveiled the LP's opening track, "Sultan's Curse," packed with pulsating riffs that unravel into a tangle of smoldering guitar lines.
Emperor of Sand follows Mastodon's 2014 LP, Once More 'Round the Sun, and finds the group reuniting with producer Brendan O'Brien, who helmed 2011's Crack the Skye. The new LP was recorded at the Quarry in Kennesaw, Georgia and mixed at Henson Studios in Los Angeles.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, drummer-singer-lyricist Brann Dailor discussed the themes explored on Emperor of Sand, including life, death, time, illness and doom. The album as a whole tells the story of a man who is handed a death sentence from a desert ruler and then wanders an arid wasteland.
"At the end of the story, the person simultaneously dies and is saved," Dailor said. "It's about going through cancer, going through chemotherapy and all the things associated with that. I didn't want to be literal about it. But it's all in there. You can read between the lines."
"We're reflecting on mortality," bassist-vocalist Troy Sanders said in a statement. "To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It's 17 years in the making, but it's also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives."
Mastodon will embark on a nearly 30-date tour this spring in support of Emperor of Sand. The trek begins in Missoula, Montana on April 14th and features Eagles of Death Metal and Russian Circles as openers.
Mastodon Emperor of Sand Track List
1. "Sultan's Curse"
2. "Show Yourself"
3. "Precious Stones"
5. "Roots Remain"
6. "Word To The Wise"
7. "Ancient Kingdom"
10. "Scorpion Breath"
11. "Jaguar God"