Mastodon: 'Slayer Songs Can Give the Same Feeling You Get From a Mozart Piece'

"Music is based on an evocative feeling or attachment you have to it," drummer Brann Dailor explains.

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Discussing the band's upcoming studio album "Once More Round the Sun," Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor touched on the matter of the way music affects people, in a way equalizing the feelings one might get from the work of either Slayer or Mozart.

"[Music] genres are put into place for whatever purpose they serve, identification or to be able to categorize something is important for a lot of people," Brann told Revolver. "But for me, music is more based on an evocative feeling or attachment you have to it.

"The feeling you get from a Stevie Wonder song is the same feeling you get from a Slayer song. Or this Slayer song is the same feeling you get from a Mozart piece. So genre kind of melts away when you put it in those parameters," the drummer said.

Giving a more detailed description of the new effort, Dailor noted, "As far as themes are concerned, it's abstract sort of esoteric lyrics, but it all extremely personal subject matters that are masked heavily. We don't like to be too transparent when it comes to the lyrics and we don't want to spell things out for people because I feel like that's sort of cheating them. It doesn’t give them the opportunity to own that piece of music or the lyrical content."

Focusing on the vibe, the drummer added, "But it sounds evil to me. It sounds pretty dark, but deceptively so. It's not so obviously there. I can't really put my finger on what kind of music it is. Obviously some of the songs are super heavy, but it's really all over the place. We are sort of more excited about the prospect of offering varieties. We have to go all over the place with it or we're not really happy with it. But there are some songs on here that are just bizarre and I'm not sure what they are, but they sound super cool, evil, and trippy."

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'd say Mastodon are probably all ready in the top 5 heavy metal bands of all time, very few bands have had a series of critically acclaimed albums like they have, the only others I can think of are Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Metallica.
    Maybe but they don't have a lot of recognition like the bands you named after...
    Maybe not at the moment, but I bet that Mastodon will be held up there as one of the greats a generation or two down the line.
    That's because they are not in the top 5 of heavy metal bands of all time.
    I don't think even half of the people who downvoted you, actually got your comment right...
    Top 5: Black Sabbath Dio Iron Maiden Deep Purple Judas Priest
    Deep Purple may have had an impact in the early days, but they haven't had the lasting impact of a band like Metallica.
    Mastodon will only be familiar to their fans. They may be good, but they will never be a household name or have the same impact as a band like Metallica or Black Sabbath, as unfair as that may be. They just did not come at the right time, like those previous bands.
    I won't argue that all of those bands have large critical success ad numbers behind them, but judging a genre that is largely propelled by the underground the same way you wold judge rock is silly. There's nothing wrong with success or being popular, but most creatively viable metal is created completely outside of those conditions. Mastodon may be a really successful metal band, but that's a dead end conversation on a music site.
    You're joking, right? Mastodon are not even close to being as well known as Metallica, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc. You ask a random person on the streets and 9 times out of 10, somebody will know a song by those bands. You ask the same for Mastodon and you will get 1 to 0 out of 10.
    You must be joking. They're no way near close to being one of the top 5 metal bands.
    I was a huge Mastodon fan, but after seeing them live, it was disappointing. The vocals were horrible live, couldn't understand anything and I was trying to convince my friend while they were awesome. This is right after Crack the Skye came out.
    I was really impressed with Crack the Skye and then looked up some live footage of the tracks... Great playing with horribly out of tune singing. No idea if they've improved since then.
    Nah, one of my friends said Troy was clearly f'd up on stage when he saw them a different time and said the vocals were awful. Instruments are always tight though. Blood Mountain is my favorite.
    Saw them with Opeth in 2011. Vocals sounded fine. Not perfect but not distracting or anything. They really improved after the horrible singing on Live at the Aragon
    A friend of mine partied with them in Vancouver back around the Crack the Skye tour. She said that Troy was ****ed up the whole time (including the show), and the rest of them silently asserted that he's usually always like that. It's easy for me to judge because I don't have that kind of pressure or those problems, but I feel that not being at a passable level of focus when you carry most of the vocal responsibility is a disservice to your band and the people who've supported your career. I saw them on the Heritage hunter tour and was blown away. Vocal quality didnt bother me too much, because I already knew what he was saying, but it's still disappointing when the lyrics aren't delivered as well as the instrumentation.
    I saw them in 2009 and the instruments were spot on, but as you say the singing was pretty bad. I saw them again last year and they've improved a lot now. Still far from perfect, but they were pretty good! It's hard to sing while they do what they do, though.
    I've seen Mastodon twice now and will see them May 8th too. Their instrumental playing is fantastic. Every song they were always on it, but the vocals were decent really. MayhemFest sounded better than a smaller gig I saw them at.
    IMO any individual piece of music has it's own sense of "Mozart" ship to it. It all lies in the eye of the beholder... so to speak. I feel if... one person can get any sense of meaning from someone else's creation, then that creator can feel a sense of accomplishment many other people won't have the priveledge to feel e.g. be it Slayer, Mozart, Johnny Cash, or Micheal Jackson. If your heart is truly into it, it deserves to be preserved and appreciated.
    No they can't
    Different people get different feelings from certain music pieces. Who is to say that they can't, for certain people? /shrug
    Yes they can. For example, if I dislike Slayer and Mozart both a huge amount, they give the same feeling of annoyance when I hear them. But since I like Slayer and Mozart both, they give the same feeling of satisfaction.
    I always wondered why drummers didn't talk much, now I know. Yes, Brann Dailor, different types of music can give you the same feeling, very good...
    He was talking about the feeling their music gives to him. If both Mozart and Slayer give him satisfaction, they both give him a similar feeling. If I like a song a lot, it gives me the chills, no matter what genre it is. It's always a similar kind of feeling. He's not comparing Mozart to Slayer. They are very far from each other - completely different styles. Nobody was comparing them.
    Well, yeah, you can get the same feeling of satisfaction, but it sure would be strange to get the same exact emotional response out of a Mozart piece and a Slayer song...
    Listening to both of them make me happy and with the odd tingle down the spine. I don't think that is strange.
    That's a pretty narrow way to look at music, imo. I get what he's saying to the extent that you can compare things in terms of how much they give you pleasure. To that end, some people get more pleasure from Slayer than they would from classical, and vice versa, some people would get the same kind of pleasure from both. But they're absolutely, objectively different listening experiences and reactions, whether you're more aware of it or not. Slayer is balls out riffs and solos for 3 minutes, classical music works through dynamics and themes. One hits you on a completely primal level without thinking about it, the other works on a level beyond that. Whether or not either sounds appealing is completely subjective, but they're not the same thing.