Hard rock outfit Mastodon is five songs into its next Warner Bros. studio album, which the group is recording in its Atlanta hometown with producer Brendan O'Brien.

Hard rock outfit Mastodon is five songs into its next Warner Bros. studio album, which the group is recording in its Atlanta hometown with producer Brendan O'Brien.

Drummer Brann Dailor tells Billboard.com that so far, "everything sounds real creepy and spaced out and different." He's particularly enthused about a 15-minute jam dubbed "The Last Baron," which happily, O'Brien had no interest in making shorter or changing.

"There's so many toys to play with over at his studio, like pipe organs and all this crazy sh*t," says Dailor, who was introduced to O'Brien through Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg (his son is a big Mastodon fan). "There are little cool things we're going to do to the record that we've been wanting to do for a long time."

Dailor promises the as-yet-untitled album, which should be out before the end of the year, will have the conceptual feel of prior releases "Leviathan" (based around "water") and "Blood Mountain" ("earth"), but he's not ready to get specific just yet.

"I think a lot of people didn't realize 'Blood Mountain' was a concept record," he says. "We made up our own story again this time, but we may try to make it a little more evident that that's what's going on. I like to keep them speculating on our message board. There's no possible way they could guess this."

Among the other tracks tipped to make the cut are "Divinations," which Dailor describes as "a mover and a shaker," and "Oblivion," which he says is "real moody. It feels like the music got a little deeper somehow." He adds that Neurosis singer Scott Kelly may wind up making a guest appearance on the album but that nothing is set in stone yet.

Fans are likely to get a taste of new Mastodon material during the band's set at Bonnaroo next weekend ("We can't wait any longer," Dailor admits). Afterward, Mastodon will return to Atlanta to continue work with O'Brien before embarking on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem tour July 9 in Seattle.

"I have a feeling like I had before 'Leviathan' came out," Dailor says. "It was like, I was feeling like we're not that band. Everyone thinks we're the band that did 'Remission,' but we're not. We're a new band."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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