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Mastodon - Live at the Aragon [CD/DVD] (Cover Artwork)

Mastodon

Mastodon: Live at the Aragon [CD/DVD]Live at the Aragon [CD/DVD] (2011)
Reprise

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
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Mastodon are proud of their 2009 album, Crack the Skye, and they should be; it's great. They're so proud of it that they played it front to back at almost every show supporting it. It's an awesome album to throw on headphones and listen to in the dark, but it doesn't make for the most engaging live .
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Mastodon are proud of their 2009 album, Crack the Skye, and they should be; it's great. They're so proud of it that they played it front to back at almost every show supporting it. It's an awesome album to throw on headphones and listen to in the dark, but it doesn't make for the most engaging live experience, and unfortunately, that record makes up about 60% of Live at the Aragon. Opener "Oblivion" doesn't exactly storm out of the gates and get you fired up for the rest of the evening.

The second portion of the set list is much more interesting, and increases the energy tenfold. The band chooses to ignore the "hits" like "Blood and Thunder" and "Colony of Birchmen" in favor of deeper cuts like "Mother Puncher" and "Aqua Dementia". Closing the evening with a cover of "The Bit", originally performed by the Melvins, is a curious choice as well, but it sounds absolutely MASSIVE.

Instrumentally, the band are completely spot-on, but vocally, their performances don't quite measure up to the studio versions of the songs. Chances are, in the future when I want to hear these songs, I'll reach for the albums they originally came from, rather than Live at the Aragon.

The DVD portion of the package is what sets it apart. I suppose after playing Crack the Skye front to back so often it's expected they'd have it down pat, but still it's impressive to see the band pull off the more technical aspects of the music seemingly effortlessly.

For many, the most enticing aspect of Live at the Aragon is Crack the Skye: The Movie, the experimental film that played behind the band on their Crack the Skye tours. The narrative, which follows the same storyline as the album, is a little hard to follow, and interspersing it with images of the album artwork coming to life doesn't make it any easier. It looked awesome playing on a giant screen behind the band, but doesn't really warrant a full viewing on its own. It's interesting to have on in the background while you're doing something else, but your mind will start to wander if you focus on it for too long.

Live at the Aragon is a nice package for diehard fans, and diehard fans alone. Mastodon are one of the best bands making heavy music in 2011, but their studio albums are where they shine. The video of the performance and accompanying film are interesting, but don't really warrant repeat viewings. When it comes to modern heavy metal, Mastodon's studio albums are essential. This is fun, but not a mandatory purchase.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
jeffrichey (March 27, 2011)

I agree for the most part with everyone's assessments that the first three albums are completely separate from CTS. However, i am thinking more long term with this band. i believe they will be making albums 10/20 years from now, and CTS will simply be an interesting blip on the screen for them, like steely dan or rush.

palpitations101 (March 26, 2011)

Fucking rules.

samthecritic (March 25, 2011)

I am a diehard fan and I loved this. Yes, Brent doesn't impress too much vocally but that didn't keep me from enjoying it. The DVD was lots of fun to watch.

Misanthropee (March 25, 2011)

My girlfriend got this; definitely not blown away by it. The sound is good, but that's about the only positive thing I can say about the live footage itself. Boring setlist, the direction/editing is ADD-awful (who the fuck wants to see crowd close-ups every 5 seconds?), and nothing can change the fact that Brent and Troy are just plain bad singers. I really wish these guys would either find a dedicated vocalist or just stick to the atonal yelling.

But yeah, as the reviewer said, for completists only.

paulsilence (March 25, 2011)

For completists only. Nice to see a live DVD at this point, though. I debated, flip flopped, and then ended up getting it. CTS the Movie is interesting, but its replay value is low for me. I LOVE the choices made for the other tracks. It's a good idea to highlight lesser known tracks, imo. Aqua Dementia is unreal.

Live vox are still an issue with this band, especially Brent Hinds. Dude, you're a fantastic guitarist, and that's good enough. Pass the fucking mic already.

The production is great.

Since others are talking about it: I love CTS. I think it's going to end up as one of my favorites from Mastodon, but Leviathan just won't give up without a fight.

Hubitcherkokov (March 25, 2011)

The earlier Mastodon records never really resonated with me. "Crack The Skye" is what hooked me. I looked for this album yesterday at the record store but wasn't able to find it. Downer.

discofucker (March 25, 2011)

Great review!

dingbat (March 25, 2011)

I'm with StraightToHell. I wanted to get into Crack the Skye real bad, but it just never happened. I'm not calling anyone sell outs or anything, but the more aggressive/metal leanings of Mastodon's earlier stuff work a lot better for me. The musicianship is still there, it's just missing some guts or something. Still interested in seeing the DVD, though. Also, nice review!

StraightToHell82 (March 25, 2011)

"Crack The Skye" is the only album from them that hasn't clicked with me. Their first 3 albums are awesome, but "Crack The Skye" just bored me.

misterspike (March 25, 2011)

"Itís an awesome album to throw on headphones and listen to in the dark"

Great description of that record.

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