Mastodon is old-school American heavy metal at its finest. The band is known for a distinctly sludgy sound, mixing stripped and distortion-heavy instrumentals, intricate grooves, and vocal harmonies that alternate between clean melodies and harsh screams.
The band has five full-length albums under its belt to date, with its latest, 2011's The Hunter, rapidly becoming known as one of their best. The record is still making waves. On Tuesday, it was named the best album of year at the 2012 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards by UK metal authority Metal Hammer.
While the band appears super-hardcore -- the tattoos trailing across vocalist/guitarist Brett Hinds' face go hand-in-hand with the Mastodon brand, and the members rarely smile on stage -- they're quite easygoing and open to just about anyone's interpretation of their music. In fact, earlier this year Mastodon, excitedly recorded covers of the Flaming Lips and Feist (with those artists returning the favor) for Record Store Day.