Justin E. H. Smith in his eponymous blog:
Some of my readers will likely know that 'Mastodon' is a band formed in Atlanta in 1999, representing the 'new wave' of American heavy metal. I have not myself heard this band, but I gather from certain signs, read directly off of the attire of the youth –with whom, I remind you, I am in daily contact– that this is a band, and indeed a movement, not entirely to be ignored.
I would imagine it is a rather smaller fraction of my readers who will know that the Mastodon is an elephantoid mammal that first appeared in the Oligocene Period, some 30-35 million years ago. As such the Mastodon, whose name means 'breast tooth' in Greek, is something entirely distinct from the woolly mammoth, which appeared only around 150,000 years ago, during a relatively recent Eurasian glaciation.
Before I arrive at my real point, let me stress that it is the last of my intentions to seek to condemn heavy metal. As I understand it, this genre emerges out of the auspicious combination of late '60s psychedelic blues with the multifarious strains of creatively anachronistic neopaganism that became visible in the following decade, but that all, likely, have their roots in 19th-century romanticism, in Waterhouse's fairies, in Wagner's recycling of the Niebelungenlied, and so on. A distinguished genealogy, to be sure.