Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON have set "Once More Round The Sun" as the title of their sixth album. The CD was recorded at a Franklin, Tennessee studio with producer Nick Raskulinecz, who has previously worked with FOO FIGHTERS, RUSH and ALICE IN CHAINS, among others. The cover artwork is being created by Oakland-based artist Skinner, who specializes in "psychedelic nightmare paintings." MASTODON singer and bassist Troy Sanders told Paste Magazine: "It's going to be a work of art for sure. It's going to be very eye-opening, very striking. It's from another dimension, and a lot of our music is geared toward that idea — taking you to another planet on songs. It's out there, and I think it's incredible."
Regarding the new MASTODON album title, Sanders told Paste Magazine: "The idea was generated before we recorded the title track on the record, but the title was thought up many months ago.
"After we finished the two-year touring cycle on our last record, 'The Hunter', we were kind of gearing up to go back to our rehearsal space in Atlanta. And we were starting the effort, the time, the blood, the energy, the months of driving, the recording and the long process between recording and the release day.
"In a nutshell: we're fortunate enough to do this again, but there's this feeling of this yearly cycle. It's not a bad thing. We get to go tour a bunch, we get to record a bunch of songs we love. It's embracing the positive — the wonderful side, to be able to have the same four dudes who love doing what we do so much. And like anything in the MASTODON world, it's open to interpretation."
According to Sanders, MASTODON recorded more than an album's worth of material this time around, with the possibility an additional EP coming out sometime after the album release.
"We didn't want a 90-minute album," he told Paste Magazine. "We like to record around the 60-minute mark. That's what our favorite records are. We're in love with all 15 of [the songs], so they might all see the light of day in some platform or another."
Songtitles set to appear on "Once More Round The Sun" include "Ember City" and "Diamonds In The Witch ", the latter of which features yet another guest spot from longtime collaborator Scott Kelly of NEUROSIS.
"I think subconsciously that we're trying to involve him with every album enough to have a full set of songs eventually," Sanders joked. "I think his performance is great, his part still gives me chills. That's a great sign."
Asked what it's been like working with Raskulinecz on the new album, MASTODON guitarist Bill Kelliher told Metal Hammer magazine: "It's something that we totally need — a cheerleader to get our asses in gear. There he is saying, 'Come on, you're MASTODON… you're one of the biggest bands in metal… Smash that hammer down and write some heavy shit. It's time to do or die!' He's that kind of a guy."
MASTODON drummer Brann Dailor recently told RollingStone.com about the band's forthcoming CD: "It's gonna be massive and insane, lots of epic greatness. 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."