Deftly refined Mastodon lets you hum while headbanging

There was a time when Mastodon seemed to pattern their sound after their namesake: massive, heavy, destined to trample lesser creatures underfoot.

But, like the prehistoric creature in question, that side of the band is a thing of the past.

After beginning their career with a pair of dense, highly involved albums that scoured the underground like prog metal pumice stones, Mastodon has steadily honed in on a more streamlined, melodically refined sound, which comes to a head on their forthcoming new record, “Once More Round the Sun,” due out in June.

The first single from the album, “High Road,” underscores this evolution: dark and stirring, the song is as suitable for humming as headbanging.

Don’t let your guard down just yet, though: When the band lays into early period favorite “March of the Fire Ants” live, it still feels forceful enough to knock the Earth off its axis.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.

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