Mastodon adds metallic gleam to Diamond Ballroom on Wednesday 

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If the sun were to die and collapse in on itself — creating a black hole so dense, not even light could escape — only then would it come close to being as heavy as the newest Mastodon album.

Last June, Once More ‘Round the Sun erupted like a supernova; a burst of colors and energy shrouded in blackness, and has been on critics’ short lists for great albums since then. As writer Steven Hyden said for Grantland, Mastodon is the Rush of our generation: A highly talented and unique group that is a big deal for a niche market. But deciphering that phenomenon takes more than a cursory glance at their music and the music category it illuminates.

“We dabble in a whole bunch of different kind of genres,” drummer Brann Dailor said in a recent Gazette interview. “You know it’s rooted in heavy metal, but it goes a whole bunch of different places.”
Dailor said the best way to find out is to listen to the band because everyone has their own opinion.

“I could say it sounds like roast beef, but you listen to it and you think it sounds like bologna,” he said.

The best way to listen to the music is at a live gig, which the band brings to Oklahoma City on Wednesday at Diamond Ballroom. Mastodon defies most categories and genre-specific labeling, but listening to it also requires that you invest more than five cents; Once More ‘Round the Sun is an album you need to spend time with.

A technically mind-blowing live band, the guitars and bass engulf the crowd like a tsunami of sound while Dailor remains constant and direct as one of rock 'n' roll's premier drummers.

Mastodon is forceful, progressive and riff-oriented, however esoteric it might seem at first. One element that elevates the act to a more secular sound is that the vocals are like nothing else you can sing along with, especially on Once More ‘Round the Sun. It is rife with vocal hooks and sing-along choruses amid the music, with guitar handiwork that burn through riffs faster and hotter than the sun burns through hydrogen.

“It’s more like a natural, organic thing for us. We all can play our instruments really well, and we’re into certain things and when we get in the room together we start coming up with stuff,” Dailor said. “That’s pretty much the long and short of it. There’s no real science to it.”

It is the band’s ability to remain unconstrained by labels that makes its music worth listening to, but it’s Mastodon's talent and knack for making heavy metal that is somehow also consumable en masse that make this a show that can’t be missed.

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