It was a good first week of release for Mastodon as its latest album, Emperor Of Sand, debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 after selling 43,000 copies.
It's the Atlanta group's third Top 20 album, following Once More 'Round the Sun in 2014 and The Hunter in 2011. "Emperor Of Sand" was also No. 1 on the magazine's Top Album Sales chart, with 41,000 physical sales and just 2,000 digital downloads.
Guitarist Bill Kelliher tells us that some of the success should be credited to producer Brendan O'Brien, who was a trusted collaborator during the recording process:
"I forgot what a great producer he is. He's funny. He moves really quick...He kinda steps in as a fifth member. When I was playing him demos he's like, he's got really quick, fast decisions. He’s like, 'Y'know this part here? Take it out. This part here, that's the meat of the song. You want to play that again, make that the focal point, sing over this part.’ He's really hands-on."
Mastodon kicks off a tour to support the album on Friday (April 14) in Missoula, Mont.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.