Art is a cyclical beast. The same can easily be said of Grammy Award nominated hard rock juggernaut Mastodon. The group’s four members recognize the importance of life’s omnipresent cycles on their sixth full length album, Once More ‘Round the Sun. The band orbits around themes of loss and rebirth, twirling a sonic spiral of its signature robust riffing, hypnotically haunting soundscapes, triage of dynamic voices, and thundering seismic grooves. At the same time, this particular collection proves personal for Brann Dailor, Brent Hinds, Bill Kelliher, and Troy Sanders. The very title says something slightly different for each member.

Mastodon continue to prevail artistically, and this particular rotation, Once More ‘Round the Sun, upholds that tradition of progression. “We’ve built a band that’s been able to morph, evolve, and change,” Dailor concludes. “Our fan base expects greatness, but they also expect things to be weird and different. I feel confident that we’ve risen to that challenge.”

Clutch:

Forget whatever you thought about Clutch. Earth Rocker crumples up the bad categories that have miscast them for years — stoner rock, post-hardcore, metal, grunge — and leaves no question about what they are: a damn good rock and roll band.

Earth Rocker is a solid, straight-up rock and roll album, exactly what the band had in mind for their tenth studio album, now that their Weathermaker Records label is fully up and running. “It might be the best Clutch album that has ever existed,” says guitarist Tim Sult.

It’s a concise, efficient album. That was the point, says drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. “We really tried to reign in the jam aspect of the band. We like to improvise a lot, but this album, we really wanted stuff mapped out. We wanted to go into the studio fully armed to make a really powerful record.”

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