If there’s a way to quietly become one of the best metal bands on the planet, Mastodon found it. While they’ve spent the past decade delivering scorching albums that have landed in Billboard’s Top 10 alongside Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran and been nominated for multiple Grammys, Mastodon has never seen the mainstream breakthrough that their forebears like Metallica enjoyed. No matter, really, as the headbanging masses have embraced the Atlanta-based band’s tunes, full of intricate time changes and monster riffs. Their latest full-length, Emperor of Sand, ponders the nature of time through the story of a man sentenced to die. Mastodon’s live shows made fans of Pearl Jam, Tool and Queens of the Stone Age; add the joyfully sleazy rock of Eagles of Death Metal and instrumental prog-metallers Russian Circles to the bill, and you have the makings of one raucous, rocking night.
— Dan Nailen