Mastodon is no stranger to addressing loss in their music. The band's 2009 album Crack the Skye is dedicated to drummer and vocalist Brann Dailor's sister Skye Dailor, The Hunter was dedicated to guitarist and vocalist Brent Hinds' brother, and Emperor of Sand addressed the loss of band family members due to cancer over the years. The new Mastodon album will do the same.
Dailor told Revolver the new Mastodon album will center around the loss of band manager Nick John.
"As far as the subject matter is concerned, it’s gonna be about Nick John after everything’s said and done," said Dailor. "Of course, it’s going to be a fantastical representation to mask the true emotion of the situation, but it’s probably going to be Nick John-centric because that was our guy and we lost him and he deserves nothing less than an album’s worth of material that’s centered around his passing.
"That was a huge blow to us. We lost one of our favorite human beings, and it just came out of nowhere. It really sucks. So that’s what we’re thinking about — plus all this shit that’s happening now. It’s the craziest time that we’ve experienced as human beings, so how are you not gonna reflect that in what you’re creating artistically? It would be impossible to sidestep it. It’s going to be about going insane in your fucking house."
Dailor also reveals the band has "too much material" for the new record, but will whittle is down to "45 to 50 minutes of new stuff and pick the cream of the crop, the stuff we’re all gravitating towards." From what we've heard, the new album will advance the band's sound and be a little over the place.
"We have too much material at the moment. We have enough for probably a couple of albums, so that’s good. But also we need to focus now. We’re at the point where we’re ready to go in and do it for real, I think. We just started jamming the new stuff as if we were gonna go in and do it, so that’s where we’re at."