Mastodon’s new album ‘The Hunter’ has just come out this month prompting me to re-investigate their back catalogue. For a group of bearded, heavily tattooed metalheads their music never fails to impress with its sonic quality and sprawling arrangements. The best thing about their albums is the simply gorgeous artwork designed by Paul Romano. ‘Blood Mountain’ (2006) in particular is full of great fine art influenced images depicting crystal skulls, wolves, mythical beings and intricate geometric patterns.
It’s definitely a step above a black and white photograph taken in an abandoned warehouse! Here’s a selection of Romano’s other Mastodon album covers; ‘Leviathan’ their 2004 breakthrough dealing with the concept of ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Crack the Skye’ (2009) which narrated the story of a paraplegic travelling through wormholes in time to encounter Rasputin and the Russian Czar. Such unusual but intriguing concepts are reflected once again in Romano’s distinctive style.
Romano’s website workhardened shows all his work with Mastodon along with designs for other bands and his personal fine art work. Here’s the URL http://www.workhardened.com/
Mastodon are due to appear on the new series of ‘Later with Jools Holland’ on BBC 2 at some point, making them the second metal band to appear on the show after Metallica. I’ll leave you with a track off of ‘Blood Mountain’, ‘Colony of Birchmen’ featuring guest vocals from QOTSA’s Josh Homme. DO NOT download the album- get a physical release instead. Even buying the CD means you can experience the very visual side of this unique band!