Mastodon are keeping fans satisfied with their Medium Rarities set arriving this week, but behind the scenes they continue to work toward their next studio album. Drummer Brann Dailor addressed the direction of the new music during a chat with Spin, explaining that the album has taken a darker turn, but does have some hopeful moments in it.

"We've never been a happy band," says Dailor. "It's not what feels right to us, or the kind of music we want to make. If we do something that sounds too happy, we know it and change it. It needs to be darker, and that's where we want to live. I don't mind listening to happy music, but over the years, Mastodon has been the place to put dark things."

The drummer adds, "It’s corny to call it therapeutic, but the new stuff is almost hard to listen to because it’s so devastating. We lost our friend and manager Nick John in 2018 to pancreatic cancer, so a lot of the new record is for him. There’s been a lot of personal stuff that has transpired in the last year, all piled on top of the Covid stuff. I don’t know how any musician or artist could sidestep the state of the world right now."

Dailor comments that the album is not "a fun romp," but does admit there is some light at the end of their darkened tunnel. "There is a moment that I feel will be the last song and the last thing you hear on the album," he explains. "It’s a riff that sounds to me like driving off into the sunset, and leaving everything behind. It sounds hopeful to me. When I listen to music, I see little movies play in my head, and this riff brings a hopeful, cinematic vision to my mind. We’re driving towards something hopeful, away from devastation, death, and all that good stuff."

At present, it's looking like a 2021 release is in order for the band, but fans certainly have their fair share of current Mastodon music to enjoy. Their song "Rufus Lives" currently features on the Bill & Ted Face the Music soundtrack and their Medium Rarities collection arrives tomorrow (Sept. 11).

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