Monday 8 December 2008

Blood and Thunder


Mastodon are described in various quarters as a 'sludge-metal' act meaning they play with a kind of stoner-esque crunchy sound whilst retaining the brutality normally associated with more conventional hard rock bands of heavier genres. Think a mix between early Metallica, Kyuss and Iron Maiden and you might have an idea of what I'm on about.

Now truth be told I was not a big fan of these chaps until about a week ago. Sure I owned both Leviathan and Blood Mountain but I'd never bothered listening to either album since after the first few songs I'd become disinterested with that 'noise' and wrap myself back into a comforting cocoon of Metallica and Lamb of God.

This all changed (as I mentioned, about a week ago) when this Georgian (that'd be the state, not the country) outfit arrived in Dublin to play Vicar St. After a spot of confusion whilst trying to actually find Vicar St. we managed to arrive having conveniently missed the usually dire first support act. The second support band turned out to be a 'rockabilly' (thanks to Dan for that term) side-project of Mastodons. And they were brilliant.

A downright bizarre mix of bluegrass and rock music coupled with equally strange stage theatrics automatically put Mastodon into my 'good guys' list. Here was clearly a group of musicians who don't take themselves overtly seriously and aren't afraid to mix things up a bit. Jolly good.

To be honest any band that writes a concept album based on Moby Dick automatically loses the right to take themselves as a serious outfit and Mastodon didn't disappoint. Sure the music was still suitably heavy (and ridiculously impressive) but there was an element of, dare I say, fun about it all. Whoever doesn't find the idea of a concert hall full of people yelling 'WHITE WHAAAAAALE' at the top of their lungs a little amusing needs their brain examined.

There is a major problem amongst rock bands that they too tend to take their music overtly seriously. Radiohead, for example. Mastodon are one of these brilliant groups that recall the good old days when rock was about having a laugh, getting drunk and falling over and encouraging your legions of fans to yell your admittedly hilarious lyrics at gigs.

0% pretentiousness 100% more White Whale

More power to them
Mastodon - Cover of Thin Lizzy's 'Emerald'. Recorded live @ Vicar St. Dublin 3/12/2008

1 comment:

Jamie R said...

Mastodon are metalcore, not sludge! sludge metal is like a sort of evolution of doom metal, if you want sludge metal listen to Isis, Eyehategod, Giant Squid, etc. Or if you're like me and you think sludge is plain crap, just listen to regular doom metal - Agalloch, Swallow the Sun, Cathedral, Thergothon, Mar De Grises, Uaral, Boris, Sun O))), and of course the guys who invented all of this, Black Sabbath.