Metal giants will flex their muscles at intimate Vega show
Prior to the release of the 2011 album The Hunter, fans of the American metal band Mastodon could largely be split into two categories: those who preferred the more straight-head crunch of the band’s first three albums, and those who preferred the more spacey, progressive sound of 2009 album Crack the Skye.
Following The Hunter, the fan base was further split between those that thought it was the best work of the Atlanta quartet’s career and those that thought its shorter songs and more polished sound equated to a sell-out.
The marked difference in the band’s sound throughout their career provides ample fodder for online metal sites, where fans bicker endlessly on which version of Mastodon is the best.
But those who don’t care about such silly distinctions and merely want to get their faces blasted off by one of the biggest acts in metal would be well advised to shake off their winter doldrums and head out to Monday’s concert.
The last time Mastodon touched down on Danish soil, it was to play the Orange Scene at last year’s Roskilde Festival. There, they put all criticisms that they weren’t legitimate festival headliners to rest with a hard-charging, growling twilight set.
This time around, they’ll be playing the much more intimate setting of Store Vega giving fans a unique chance to see what Alternative Press called “one of the all-time great hard-rock groups” and Rolling Stone dubbed “the greatest metal band of their generation” up close and personal.
Opening the show will be Portland, Oregon based metal band Red Fang, which AllMusic described as a mix between Black Sabbath and the Melvins.
Formed in 1999, Mastodon’s first four albums were all concept albums of sorts based on the four classical elements: 2002’s Remission around the theme of fire; 2004’s Leviathan on water via the classic novel Moby Dick; 2006’s Blood Mountain on earth and, well, climbing a mountain; and Crack the Skye on ether (along with Rasputin and Tsarist Russia thrown in for good measure).
While this may all sound pretty deep, the concepts are rather loose and the music can definitely be enjoyed on its surface level without searching for deeper, hidden meaning.
On The Hunter, things got simplified a bit, with no real overarching theme to speak of, just 13 shorter, more polished tracks that unfortunately tend to blend together a bit. By teaming up with producer Mike Elizondo, best known for working with hip-hop acts like 50 Cent, the band raised more than a few eyebrows. And although the sound of The Hunter isn’t as brutal as their earlier records, nor as tripped-out as Crack The Skye, elements of both can still be found throughout. And the album’s standout tracks ‘Black Tongue’, ‘Curl of the Burl’, and ‘The Sparrow’ leave no doubt that Mastodon is at the top of their game.
Of the group’s four members – bassist Troy Sanders, drummer Brann Dailor and guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher – all but Kelliher take turns on vocal duties. While many songs feature growling/screaming vocals, others are much cleaner and border on (gasp!) actually singing.
The mix of sounds ensures that Mastodon fans of all stripes will hear what they came for.