Trying to be everything to everyone is a futile pursuit. On a logistical scale it is impossible, much less imaginative, and no one is satisfied. That being said, Mastodon’s latest album Silent and serious (Reprise Through Out Friday) Similarly, a Mastodon record for all Mastodon fans. No matter what era you’ve been in the Atlanta Metal Quartet for the past two decades, they’ve got your number. “Teardrinker” and “More Than I Chew” recalls their original turn Crack the Sky, When drummer Bran Dailer became a co-lead vocalist and Heidi ascended to prog-metal righteousness. For heads from the start, “Pushing the Tides” and “Savage Lands” will take you back to a time when remittances were fresh and you needed a roof and beer money to set.
Did you blow up the left-field country leak in “Megalodon” and of course you were because it was shattered? That Hard? Brent Hinds got another one for you in “The Beast!” “Sickle and Peace” hopes that your foot will not fail you now. Grimm Is Mastodon being the most inspired by themselves, and may seem like a recipe for extra suffering – above all their longest record, and the band owes a debt to Genesis and Yes was forced to record a double at a time – this is their most compelling reason Record.
Our chat with Dailer, which you can read below, touches on the band’s early days and even his pre-mastodon time as a fixture in the 90’s grindcore scene in Rochester, New York. These are the roots that are the key to understanding Grimm’s broader look at the band’s multi-layered career.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Spin: Listening to the album, I think I’m listening to Mastodon from all ages here – some of the hardest things. Leviathan And Mountain of blood, Something Crack the SkyIts pragmatic vision, and many new things too. Was this meant to be an overall look at a record band?
Fire Dealer: No, not at all, that’s what came out. Usually, we are just a divining rod type band, we follow what sounds good and play what we dig. It just so happened that we had a band digging ourselves for the whole time. We like the same thing we always like – when the reefs present themselves, it’s very simple. “I like it. It sounds good. Let’s do it.”
We’re not afraid of anything – when things that seem new or different present themselves, I think we get a little more excited. There’s a blues random thing that happens in a song called “The Beast,” even a small country lick at the beginning of that song. “Sickle and Peace,” the whole opening session [is] More progressive in the 70s than we are. We just put in the time and work and we just sit there and fight for hours on end for many, many months.
That lick in “The Beast” reminded me of the lick of “Megalodon” in the middle of that country. Leviathan, A signature Mastodon moment. Where did the things of that country come from?
That’s all Brent [Hinds, guitarist], This is his style of playing the guitar. He likes to play the guitar from different angles, but I always like to include his playing aspect, picking hybrids from that country. If he brings some cold, we want to use it and fold it. When I was growing up, I was just traumatized – the country was not my favorite. Stay in a band with Brent and Troy [Sanders, bassist and vocalist], The southern boy, and walking around in our van, “The Fart Box,” whoever was driving had stereo control. Troy and Brent introduced me to so many more classic things, I fell in love with it quite a bit – guys like John Prin and George Jones and the like. A lot of Will Nelson in stereo then, getting to know each other on that long drive across the country. In the beginning we knew each other’s song collections. If I drove, I would drive Lamb is lying on Broadway And those guys shouted “Oh!” It was like that changed my mind about that country. Lick that “megalodon” – at first I was about to walk around because it was out of the left field. When it slammed that Master of dolls– Sonic part, it works just as well.
Would you say that you are more involved with vocals here?
Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like Al that sounds pretty crap to me, I didn’t want to give up some of those parts because I thought they would be more sincere if I sang them. I don’t have an ego when it comes down to it. If those guys veto me to vocalize some parts, I’m happy to hand them over to someone else. My vocal role has expanded, but that’s just because I had a lot to say on the record.
There was a certain song where you asked “Should I really sing it?”
The last lyric on the world record, a song called “Gigantium” – “We made the mountains in the distance, they will stay with us” – is what our former manager, Nick John, who died, said that what we did together will stay here even though he is now gone Gone. I think it’s the perfect way to say goodbye, and the last part of “Gigantium” seems very appropriate for the ending, and then it goes to Brent’s really beautiful solo song that takes us to the orchestrated part. I am very happy because we are always searching for the end of this epic of all our albums We are always looking for the song that will be so big, long, goodbye, like “Hearts Alive” was on Leviathan. “Gigantium” is this happy coincidence, when we see that to run the last rift, I think “whatever it is we’ve got the end.”
You’re getting into vocals Crack the Sky There was a huge change for Mastodon. Previously, you wanted to do something with vocals, but weren’t really sure how to pull them off?
I never wanted to sing in a band. I was basically pressured by the boys because I would drive in the van and celebrate Steve Wonder or Judas Priest or Ozzy and sing at the top of my lungs. [while] Management. Those guys are “Dude you can sing! What a fuck!” And I say “I’m not singing and not playing the drums, I’m not doing it,” because it’s really hard, and my work is hard enough. I didn’t want to draw myself into a corner and make it so I had to do it every time. That’s right.
Before that, I always wrote songs and tried to contribute that way, and I always had ideas for songs, because especially with more screaming songs or voices at first, they almost act as another painful instrument. I will always have an idea to put some cadence or something on top of the song I have written and I will do a ridiculous version of Mike. Brent and Troy will reproduce it. Then I got it Crack the Sky And I did that with “oblivion”, I went inside and sang my idea in the hope that Troy or Brent would imitate it. Brent was so firm that there was a melody or stick in my voice that he really liked – we were quite close to Troy, he was copying it, but as a team he was listening to both of them. [producer] Brendon O’Brien and everyone agree that I should have a vocal. That’s what opened the floodgate for me to sing. I understand that our fanbase has a cross-section that says “not what I signed up for.” And that bums me out to a degree, but whatever.
There is another killer drummer on this record – Dave Witt (Municipal West, Discordance Axis and many, many other bands) as a guest on “Dagger”. How did you get him on this record? How far back do you go?
He is one of my best friends. I probably met him in 1992 – he was playing drums for a New Jersey Death Metal band called Human Remains, which was heavily influenced by the Ripping Corps. They played in my basement, I had a basement club called “Club Bran” and my old band Lethargy practiced there and we partyed on the weekends. We played, some local bands from New York and Rochester would play. But this is the first time we have come to play outside the city. I met Dave that night and Lethargy and Human Remains almost became sister bands. We will go to New Jersey and play with them and they will come to Rochester and play with us. Over the years, I have always kept in touch with Dave in various bands where he was – Melt Banana, Black Army Jacket, Discordance Axis, Burn by the Sun. He is one of the best one-foot grindcore drummers in existence. And he gave me a gig score with Today Is The Day, so I don’t know where I would be today if Dave hadn’t recommended me go do it, and it was over – it led to Mastodon. I love the guy, and we just saw a place in “Dagger” to be able to bring him to do this tribal drumwork. When you do a double album, it gives you a chance to spread something. It’s one of the greatest friendships for me to be, to bring someone with whom I hold such a high status, even if it’s just for a small drum part.