Permanent Records: With Leviathan, Mastodon helped usher in a golden age of heavy metal

Permanent Records is an ongoing closer look at the records that matter most.

The internet outrage machine briefly focused on Mastodon in October 2014, following the music video release for “The Motherload,” the fourth and final single off its most recent album, Once More Round The Sun. In it, an innocuously bland metal tableau of solemn white men straining under immense literal and figurative weights is interrupted by a voluptuous, twerking dance troupe, most of whom are black. Outlets decried what they considered a hard rock sexist minstrel show, with the musicians skewering minority culture under the guise of cheekiness, no pun intended. Band members, even one of the dancers, quickly responded to the critiques as online commenters pummeled each other, and eventually outrage culture set its sights on the next clickbait target. But during the short-lived discussion, few if any observed the strangeness of a metal band eliciting the …

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