Mastodon – Live at the Aragon


Artist

Album

Live at the Aragon

Label

Reprise Records

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

Neurosis - Gojira - ISIS

Summary

A worthy addition to the collection

Rating

85 / 100

You’ve got to love the disproportionate and almost backward way music is embraced these days (the word ‘love’ obviously being used in a bitterly ironic sense). If it wasn’t so serious it would be highly laughable.

Case in point one. Just like the Between the Buried and Me performance DVD of a few years back, Atlanta rockers Mastodon present a concert based CD/DVD that is visually engaging, aurally profound and equally unique. Although, while within its genre this type of music is appreciated and rightfully lauded for its sincere beauty, on a mainstream level you get the feeling there won’t even be the slightest hint of care.

However, the fact that artists like Katy Perry are being nominated for Grammy ‘Album of the Year’ honours suggests music’s discernible priorities are currently more out of whack than a Charlie Sheen house party.

Petty rants aside, this CD/DVD release entitled ‘Live at the Aragon‘ is a reflection of a band currently at the height of their musical powers. Put aside the CD component. It’s been said once and will be said again, live CD’s are almost redundant. You need to be there to get the full effect. It’s all about the DVD side of things here.

Featuring ‘Crack the Skye‘ in its entirety, as well as select tracks from the band’s previous discography, ‘Live at the Aragon‘ captures the Mastodon sound, style and overall presentation in a simple yet effective way. Accompanied by the ‘Crack the Skye‘ film, which also serves as the visual backdrop to the band’s performance, the DVD does not rely on abstract camera angles, lots of cuts or Michael Bay excessive special effects. Instead, it pretty much just lets the camera roll and leaves it up to the band to show their proficiency both as individuals but more importantly as a collective.

Fans will be familiar with songs so there’s no need to acquaint yourself with the critiques and musical directions. Longer songs such as ‘The Czar‘ and ‘The Last Baron‘ are engaging, emotive and change pace throughout. There’s a certain charm to seeing/hearing songs off ‘Crack the Skye‘ before launching into concluding tracks such as ‘Mother Puncher‘ and ‘Where Strides the Behemoth‘, which both channel a more abrasive approach. It’s a welcome contrast indeed.

Perhaps the only gripe (and a small one at that) in this reviewers eyes is that it would’ve been nice to see ‘Capillarian Crest‘ make the setlist cut.

As much as supports of Slayer and spots on the Big Day Out have been appreciated, after watching ‘Live at the Aragon‘ you can only hope Australia gets an intimate, headline journey like this someday soon.

Conclusion

Visually entertaining and sonically precise, ‘Live at the Aragon’ shows that sometimes a straightforward approach is the best avenue. This CD/DVD is seventy plus minutes of considered and well-structured music. If you can’t appreciate this, then it’s your loss really.

Tracklisting

CD & DVD:

1. Oblivion
2. Divinations
3. Quintessence
4. The Czar
5. Ghost of Karelia
6. Crack the Skye
7. The Last Baron
8. Circle of Cysquatch
9. Aqua Dementia
10. Where Strides the Behemoth
11. Mother Puncher
12. The Bit

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