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coverpic flag US - Georgia - Full Moon 164 - 01/30/10

Mastodon
The Palace, Melbourne, 28.1.10

Men! Riffing, pounding, sweating, roaring MEN! If there's a testament to the majesty of testosterone used for the powers of good rather than evil, Mastodon are it. While other metal bands may trump the 'don in terms of speed, throat-shredding and dark imagery, there's some sublime magic in this Atlanta quartet's marriage of metal with southern rock and prog. And live, it's quite something to behold.

First, the masterful Crack the Skye is played in full. It's reproduced flawlessly, emphasising the dexterous balance between ferocity and expansiveness. Each member of the band plays brilliantly. Drummer Brann Dailor is all over the kit, but has reined in his paradiddles on the recent songs - which is probably a good thing seeing as he has to sing on superb opener "Oblivion". Brent Hinds is turning into something of a guitar hero, tearing out some wailing solos and wielding a double-neck axe for "Crack the Skye". Rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher is a pretty anonymous stage presence, but nails the circuitous riffs with ease. And bassist Troy Sanders - my god, the man is a mountain! Commanding centre stage, he's a cross between a wizard, an athlete and a bearded spider.

The second half featured tracks from their previous three albums, including the mighty "Iron Tusk" from Leviathan, which was fun, but didn't grab me nearly as much as the first half. Still, two hours of live Mastodon is one hell of way to spend a night.

Copyright © 2010 Tim Clarke e-mail address

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