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Mastodon‘s forthcoming album Emperor of Sand features the single “Show Yourself,” one of the poppiest songs in the metal band’s discography. As guitarist Bill Kelliher explains, the upbeat and hooky nature of “Show Yourself” serves a musical and narrative purpose on Emperor of Sand, an otherwise dark and emotional concept album about suffering from cancer.
“It’s not a true representation of the entire album,” Kelliher tells ABC Radio of “Show Yourself.” “It’s an oasis amongst a vast desert of very dense music and songs.”
“Show Yourself” is the second track on Emperor of Sand, which Kelliher feels gives both the listener, and the album’s main character, a sense of “false hope.”
“There’s so much stuff to get into throughout the record,” Kelliher explains. “There’s a lot of notes and things happening, solos and singing, there’s so many layers to it, you know what I mean? But [‘Show Yourself’ is] kind of a breath of fresh air to kinda lead you into the desert.”
Outside of being a narrative piece in a concept album, “Show Yourself” allowed Mastodon, who are known for the complexity of their music, to explore a path they’ve been reticent to follow in the past.
“I’m glad that we as a band aren’t afraid to embrace a simple riff,” says bassist Troy Sanders. “A lot of times we’ll listen back and say, you know, it doesn’t sit right immediately with us because we’re used to having multiple notes, lots of layers, very technical. I remember Bill had that guitar riff, and I was like, ‘Dude, that could be great, we should hone in on that,’ and I’m very glad we did.”
Emperor of Sand will be released March 31.
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