Metal bands that transition from the underground to the overground can suffer painful backlashes. Thus far, though, Mastodon has avoided too much harm. Its 2006 disc Blood Mountain, the Atlanta group's first for Warner Bros., may have been somewhat more accessible than the quartet of albums issued under the auspices of the Relapse imprint, but the results were plenty brutal enough to satisfy all but the least open-minded fans. In fact, a beating vocalist/guitarist Brent Hinds took during a run-in with System of a Down's Shavo Odadjian and another musician in Las Vegas last September constitutes pretty much the only real damage Mastodon has sustained of late. And wounds to the body heal faster than ones to the reputation.


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