Release Date: Mar 15, 2011
Record label: Reprise
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, Power Metal
Mastodon's 2009 LP Crack The Skye is mad-knotty metal, long on virtuoso licks and neck-snap time-signature shifts. Performed in full on this crushing live DVD/CD, recorded in Chicago, it left little room for embellishment or stage gymnastics; psychedelic film clips aside, the DVD's visual highpoint point is Brent Hinds' tattooed digits running amok on his Lucite Flying V during the four-part brutality suite "The Czar. " Video: Mastodon's Concert DVD 'Live At The Aragon' Things loosen up on older material (a thrashing "Aqua Dementia"), and the band do a punishing cover of the Melvins' 1996 psych-sludge gem "The Bit.
Progressive metallers Mastodon finally broke through to the masses -- such as they are for heavy metal, anyway -- with 2009's Crack the Skye, which deals with themes of astral travel, out-of-body experiences, and the undefinable "dark matter" that resides in some "out there," space. The Crack the Skye tour was undocumented with the exception of one show: this one. According to the band, no matter what happened on the stage on October 17, 2009, at the Aragon in Chicago, it would end up on the record.
Mastodon have spent their past four albums ascending the metal and progressive rock world to a pinnacle completely of their own design. The band’s distinctively ferocious brand of metal that’s been lauded by critics, teenage headbangers, and metalheads of the old guard alike owes as much to the screaming twin lead work of Thin Lizzy and the stoner punk of the Melvins, as it does to thrash icons Metallica and Megadeth. The Atlanta quartet has set seemingly insurmountable benchmarks for themselves, widening their scope exponentially, both conceptually and aurally, with each successive album.
After a decade that saw Mastodon put out four excellent albums and establish itself as arguably the best American metal band working today, there’s no better time than the present to cap off that admirable run with the ubiquitous live album. Ever since their landmark debut Remission, the Atlanta band had been tagged as “the next big thing”, but unlike Metallica and Slayer a quarter century ago, the road to mainstream success took a fair bit longer to achieve, the deteriorating state of the music business forcing the band to do a lot of hard work cultivating a fanbase while churning out the studio full-lengths on a regular basis. Many, including yours truly, thought 2006’s stupendous Blood Mountain would be the record to push Mastodon closer to the top, but it was actually the ambitious Crack the Skye two and a half years later that would finally generate impressive sales numbers, it’s first-week sales nearly doubling those of Blood Mountain.
Crunching live release from the concepts-ahoy Atlanta metal outfit. Mike Diver 2011 Released in 2009, Mastodon’s fourth album Crack the Skye was a mind-meltingly ambitious offering, melding significant rock chops with proggy themes and digit-busting fret-work. It was a perfect album for Guitar Hero kids and old-school metalheads alike, and rightly ate up critical acclaim.
Forest-clearing for forthcoming fifth LP The Hunter includes closing 2009's Crack the Skye cycle with this CD/DVD caterwaul from Chicago's famed ballroom. Seventy-five minutes from the ambitious Atlantans untangles an actual hook in "Quintessence," but perennial "Mother Puncher" and Melvins closer "The Bit" batten down the goods vs. Crackthe Skye: The Movie jumbling a 50-minute New Age Russian silent.