Mastodon Guitarist on New Album: 'Death Is Always a Good Theme'

"We've had a lot of friends pass away since the last record," says Bill Kelliher.

Ultimate Guitar

Axeman Bill Kelleher of US metal four-piece Mastodon recently discussed some of the themes that might occur on the band's upcoming yet-untitled album.

During a chat with Artisan News, Kelliher singled out death as a subject always worth returning to. "It always makes for really good story telling," he said. "It's kind of the theme that we have a lot in our music."

"We've had a lot of friends pass away since the last record," the guitarist noted. "I'm not really sure yet. I think we're kind of focusing more about living on this earth and what would happen if this was your last year to live. I think that's sort of maybe a little bit of what we might be kind of touching on."

Kelliher said he is in a good place in life at the moment, something that will clearly be reflected through his music.

"Art reflects life," he said. "How you're feeling and your mood. I played a riff for Brann [Dailor] and he was, like, 'That sounds kind of happy. Are we happy now?' I don't know ... I am, I'm a pretty happy guy. So that's kind of how we work - it's pretty simple. But we'll have to see."

Mastodon are looking to unleash their new effort sometime during next spring. The band reportedly already has around 30 demos prepared and is set to hit the studio in September.

The latest Mastodon release, "The Hunter," dropped in September 2011 as the group's fifth studio record. After landing at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, it went on to ship over 75,000 units in the US.

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13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm excited for the next album. They always "change" from record to record, but they never forsake themselves nor their fans, and that's why I love every subsequent release.
    One of the best bands in modern metal. Crack the Skye was a progressive masterpiece. I'm looking forward to hearing what new sound they have for their next album.
    I love Mastodon but I was a bit disappointed with The Hunter. I hope they regain a bit of the etherealness of Crack The Skye
    I really, really, really do not understand why a lot of people dislike of The Hunter, everybody knows they change their style after every album and it's not as if it was particularly radio friendly with tracks like creature lives and spectrelight. Yes it was different but that was exactly what was expected.
    I was a little disappointed when I first heard The Hunter as I really liked Crack the Skye but the album is a little different and still is good listening.
    I agree, songs like "Blasteroid" and "The Octupus has No Friends" didn't really do anything for me
    A concept album about death would be interesting to hear, but even if they decide to make another album like The Hunter or Remission, it will kick ass.
    The theme of death was a common theme on my favorite albums of theirs, Crack The Skye. If the same theme brings out the same kind of album, I'll love it to death.