In a new interview with SPIN, MASTODON drummer Brann Dailor was asked if the material he and his bandmates are writing for their upcoming album has gotten darker in the last few months as a result of COVID-19 and the political situation in America. "I think so, but we've never been a happy band," he said. "It's not what feels right to us, or the kind of music we want to make. If we do something that sounds too happy, we know it and change it. It needs to be darker, and that's where we want to live.
"I don't mind listening to happy music, but over the years, MASTODON has been the place to put dark things," he continued. "It's corny to call it therapeutic, but the new stuff is almost hard to listen to because it's so devastating. We lost our friend and manager Nick John in 2018 to pancreatic cancer, so a lot of the new record is for him.
"There's been a lot of personal stuff that has transpired in the last year, all piled on top of the COVID stuff. I don't know how any musician or artist could sidestep the state of the world right now.
"When I listen to it, it's not a fun romp by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not really selling it well, but it's what we needed to get through.
"There is a moment that I feel will be the last song and the last thing you hear on the album," Brann revealed. "It's a riff that sounds to me like driving off into the sunset, and leaving everything behind. It sounds hopeful to me.
"When I listen to music, I see little movies play in my head, and this riff brings a hopeful, cinematic vision to my mind. We're driving towards something hopeful, away from devastation, death, and all that good stuff."
MASTODON will release a rarities collection titled "Medium Rarities" on September 11. The compilation includes one brand new song, "Fallen Torches" (featuring a guest appearance by NEUROSIS's Scott Kelly), along with a bevy of classic covers, soundtrack contributions, instrumentals, B-sides, and live recordings on one complete package for the very first time.
MASTODON's latest album, "Emperor Of Sand", debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200. That LP was nominated for the 2018 Grammy Award for "Best Rock Album," and its opening track, "Sultan's Curse", won the Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance."
Earlier in the year, MASTODON wrote and recorded a new song called "Rufus Lives" for inclusion in the latest "Bill & Ted Face The Music" movie.
"Bill & Ted Face The Music", which reunites Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in the title roles for the first time since 1991's "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey", was released late last month.