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Emperor of Sand is the upcoming seventh studio album by American metal band Mastodon. The album is scheduled to be released on March 31, 2017 through record label Reprise.
Emperor of Sand is the seventh studio album from American progressive metal band Mastodon. The album was recorded at the Quarry in Kennesaw, Georgia and mixed at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles. The band worked with record producer Brendan O'Brien, who they collaborated with on their 2009 album Crack the Skye. The songs were recorded as originally arranged, then they revisited each track to edit and refine the sound. Drummer Brann Dailor completed his drum tracks and began drafting lyrics while guitars and bass were being recorded by other band members.
Scott Kelly of Neurosis and Kevin Sharp of Brutal Truth both appear as guest vocalists on Emperor of Sand.  Kelly has appeared as a guest vocalist on every Mastodon studio album since Leviathan.
The album's concept and story follows a desert wanderer who has been handed a death sentence. Themes of death and survival are woven into the song's lyrics, which were inspired by experiences members of the band had when family and friends were recently diagnosed with cancer.
"At the end of the story, the person simultaneously dies and is saved," Dailor said. "It's about going through cancer, going through chemotherapy and all the things associated with that. I didn't want to be literal about it. But it's all in there. You can read between the lines."
"We're reflecting on mortality," bassist-vocalist Troy Sanders said in a statement. "To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It's 17 years in the making, but it's also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives.
Emperor of Sand is scheduled to be released on March 31, 2017 through record label Reprise. A snippet of the album's first single "Sultan's Curse" was previewed on the band's website on January 25, 2017, and the full track was released on January 27.
Following the album's release, the band will embark on a tour in the United States from 14 April–20 May 2017, with support from Eagles of Death Metal and Russian Circles.