Mastodon goes melodic?

Is Mastodon, which I witnessed destroy the State Theatre last year, fixing to pull a Metallica circa 1991? That's what Rolling Stone is reporting, sorta, in the current issue. The Atlanta metal band's new album will be produced by Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam) and, quite frankly, sounds like something I'm very interested in hearing.

The reason for the mellow (by metal standards) vibe? Guitarist Brent Hinds' head injury resulting from a  drunken brawl last September in Las Vegas following MTV's VMAs. Not date yet on when the new disc drops. From RollingStone.com:

O’Brien brought a relaxed vibe to the studio and helped flesh out the album’s classic-rock heart. “Quintessence” adds spacey washes of synthesizers and vocal harmonies to the brawny riffs and piercing guitar lines. The thrashing “Divinations” comes on like Master of Puppets-era Metallica, only with soaring vocals and a bright chorus, and “Oblivion” inserts a bluesy guitar solo into a sinister, multitempo, prog-metal epic.

The finished album will contain only seven songs, and, like previous Mastodon outings, will be a concept record. After past efforts focused on fire, water and earth, the new disc will explore air, ghosts and the ethereal world. The group has talked about eventually combining the releases into a box set called The Elements.

“Musically and lyrically, this is the record we’d be writing if we weren’t going to exist tomorrow,” says Sanders. “We don’t feel like we have to do a certain type of record to please a certain group. We’re free to change.”