MASTODON is an explosive, unbridled force. Possessing an uncanny songwriting sense, fearless innovation, unparalleled technical ability and a bottomless pool of raw talent and creativity, MASTODON is inarguably one of the most exciting new bands to form in the last 10 years.
MASTODON formed in 1999 when drummer Brann Dailor and guitarist Bill Kelliher moved to Atlanta, GA from their hometown of Rochester, New York. Only three weeks after arriving in Atlanta, Dailor and Kelliher met bassist Troy Sanders and guitarist Brent Hinds at a HIGH ON FIRE show that Hinds put on in his basement. Dailor and Kelliher had almost a decade of playing and touring experience together; Sanders and Hines had a half-dozen. Within a few weeks of forming, the quartet’s intense songwriting chemistry generated a solid set of hard-hitting songs. These songs merely touched the surface of the outfit’s boundless well of ideas.
Under the name MASTODON, the group recorded their first demo in June 2000. With new demo in hand, the band started a tireless tour schedule, covering most of the Eastern U.S. as well as playing numerous regional dates supporting QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, MORBID ANGEL, CANNIBAL CORPSE and many others. MASTODON’s exceptional live performance impressed to such an extent that within months a contract was inked and the band welcomed into the Relapse family.
In the spring of 2001, MASTODON once again blazed through the Eastern U.S with EYEHATEGOD, KEELHAUL and BURNT BY THE SUN. MASTODON blew the doors off every venue along the tour, leaving a whole new contingent of music fans awestruck and hungry for more. Their formidable live reputation helped land them a summer tour again through the East Coast and Midwest, where they linked up with THE FUCKING CHAMPS. The tour led them through innumerable festivals (Milwaukee Metalfest, Hellfest, World Series of Metal, and Mid-South Metal Fest) whose attendees witnessed an entirely new form of power and intensity.
In August, MASTODON’s Relapse debut EP 'Lifesblood' hit with adamantine force. 'Lifesblood' illustrated the band’s incredible technical prowess, memorable hooks, and earth-shaking ability to rock that they had been delivering night after night in club after club. Not only did 'Lifesblood' put them on the map, it proved once and for all that MASTODON's sound and vision defied categorization.
Eager to continue moving forward, MASTODON honed its new material and entered Man Or Astroman?’s Zero Return Studios in Atlanta with producer/engineer Matt Bayles (ISIS, BURNT BY THE SUN, PEARL JAM) in October, 2001 to record their first full-length, 'Remission.' If 'Lifesblood' was just the eye-opening introduction, MASTODON certainly awakened the slumbering heavy music scene on 'Remission.' 'Remission' bridged the soulful and technical as herculean yet incisive songwriting effortlessly fused with an expansive and emotive tenor. Creative, distinct, graceful and strong, MASTODON’s 'Remission' features the traits of a benchmark release, a standard to which others will be held and ultimately measured. Rarely is rock so pure and hard-hitting.
Songs such as the galloping "March of the Fire Ants," the beautiful "Ol’e Nessie," "Mother Puncher’s" labyrinthine guitar workout, and the punishing "Workhorse" are nothing short of insta-classics, and the album's remaining seven tracks are not far behind.
The quartet dug into their roadwork hard upon the release of Remission. First a two-month North American tour supporting HIGH ON FIRE, followed by strings of dates supporting HATEBREED, CLUTCH, and FIVE POINTE O. The quartet finished out a busy 2002 with a Japanese Tour with HIGH ON FIRE and a quick Eastern U.S. run supporting The DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN.
MASTODON kicked off 2003 with a much talked about appearance at the Relapse Contamination Festival and their first European Tour with HIGH ON FIRE. The band then embarked on its first headlining U.S. Tour, anchoring the Relapse North American Contamination tour with labelmates CEPHALIC CARNAGE, UPHILL BATTLE, and DYSRHYTHMIA. MASTODON immediately followed up the Contamination Tour with two European headlining tours in the Spring/Summer of 2003, including a plethora of Icelandic headlining dates. In September, 2003, MASTODON criss-crossed the U.S. with hard rockers CLUTCH, further reinforcing the power and beauty of their revered live show.
MASTODON carved its own path, and 'Remission' established the band as one of catalysts aiming to change the face of heavy music for the better. 'Remission' sent shockwaves across the hard rock community as critics and fans alike praised the album's diversity and strength. MASTODON graced the pages of nearly every noteworthy music tome worldwide as well as regional newspapers North America over including New York's Village Voice, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, St. Louis Riverfront Times, Orlando Weekly, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Austin Chronicle and dozens more.
In the Fall of 2003, MASTODON was selected to appear amongst heavy music's biggest names as they were invited to be a part of the MTV2 "Headbangers Ball" 2xCD compilation. MASTODON's "March of the Fire Ants" appeared alongside hard music giants SLAYER, DEFTONES, and HATEBREED, as well as fellow fast-rising artists KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, SHADOWS FALL, POISON THE WELL and ARCH ENEMY. The Headbangers Ball album went on to sell upwards of 150,000 units, exposing the band to legions of new devotees.
In November, 2003 MASTODON filmed its first music video. Shot in the band's hometown of Atlanta with director Chad Rullman (NEUROSIS), the "March of the Fire Ants" clip made its world premier on MTV2's "Headbangers Ball" program and immediately garnered 'Bang of the Week' honors (www.mtv.com/onair/mtv2/headbangers_ball/). The video catapulted MASTODON into the living rooms of countless metal fans and remained in steady rotation at both MTV2 and Fuse's "Uranium" program well into 2004. On the heels of the video's success, MASTODON was invited to appear in-studio as co-hosts of "Headbangers Ball," and did so alongside host Jamey Jasta, on Valentine's Day, 2004.
The accolades continued as MASTODON was named one of ALTERNATIVE PRESS Magazine's "Bands You Need to Know in 2004" and one of Metal Hammer's "50 Bands You Must Hear" for 2004 (alongside THE BRONX, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, MATCHBOOK ROMANCE and VELVET REVOLVER (ex-GUNS N' ROSES). In February, 2004, MASTODON was named one of the "25 Most Important Bands in Metal" by AP and as one of the "25 Greatest Live Bands Ever" by Revolver Magazine. The Revolver list also included such rock giants as KISS, NIRVANA, LED ZEPPELIN, AC/DC and SLAYER.
MASTODON teamed up with CLUTCH for a successful three-week stint in February and immediately following, made select west coast headlining appearances on their way to Seattle, where they entered both Robert Lang Studios (NIRVANA, PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, FOO FIGHTERS) and Litho Studios (DEFTONES, SOUNDGARDEN, BOTCH) with producer Matt Bayles to record material for their second album 'Leviathan.
Released in August, 2004, Leviathan turned the heavy music world on its ear, MASTODON receiving tremendous amounts of both fan and critical acclaim. The band’s press and television profiles both continued to grow immensely upon the album’s release and MASTODON was invited to tour Europe with SLIPKNOT and SLAYER. Immediately following the European trek, MASTODON hit the road with SLAYER and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE for the high-profile 2004 Jagermeister Music Tour.
MASTODON kicked off 2005 with bang that was felt with concussive force the world over. The band's "Leviathan" was named 2004's "Album of the Year" in REVOLVER, KERRANG! and TERRORIZER magazine's, the trio of awards being unparalleled in modern hard rock history. The band graced the cover of KERRANG! in February, 2005 to a rousing response and immediately launched a UK and European headlining tour. Upon return to the States, MASTODON embarked on a U.S. headlining tour, garnering hoards of new fans along the way.
2006 saw the release of the genre-defying "Blood Mountain" via Warner Bros. Records. Receiving countless accolades from critics and fans alike, "Blood Mountain" has launched Mastodon to the top of the metal pedestal. Those who have yet to ride the beast that is Mastodon are sure to be captivated by their truly unique sound with "Blood Mountain"; an album that further showcases a band who has firmly planted their feet into the annals of heavy music history.
MASTODON isn't just a band you hear, it's something you feel deep down. Its pulse affects you.