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Mastodon - O2 Academy Brixton, London - November 28 2014 (Live Review)

Monday, 01 December 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Once more 'round the sun they may have travelled, but Mastodon’s return to the O2 Academy Brixton had a familiar ring to it. Again, they succeeded in selling it out and, once more, they determined that they would celebrate the fact by ripping jaws from skulls and smashing them into the ground.

As the lights shoot down and the opening throes of Tread Lightly erupt from the PA system, the entire venue is rocked by thunderous cheers and the shuffling of innumerable punters making a beeline from the bar/bog. In fairness to them, you’d be a fool to miss it.

Brent Hinds, Brann Dailor, Bill Kelliher and Troy Sanders saunter on stage as though they've become lost on their way to the pub, with the quartet seemingly impervious to the adoring screams of the crowd.

Mastodon have never been ones for theatrics and have generally traded that sort of dicking about in in favour of the tightest, most incomprehensibly elephantine racket in the universe. That's still the case.

The band's latest record - 'Once More 'Round The Sun' - packed all the singalongs. Some fans have beef with it, perhaps preferring to stay at home with the gate-fold sleeve of 'Remission' and a box of Kleenex, but those guys ain't no fun. Yes, the new songs are much more commercially viable, but they're still unmistakably Mastodon. Dailor's juicily inventive drum patterns drive Chimes At Midnight, while the chunky, titanic riffs are as potent as ever.

And then we have the choruses. Oh god, the choruses. Mastodon don't need Curl Of The Burl tonight, banishing it from the setlist and throwing in High Road and The Motherload instead. These are genuine anthems, their words bursting from the mouths of just about every soul in attendance. It takes almost half the set to dig into pre-'Oblivion' material, which is testament to the band's new tunes, but also a tad annoying when Hinds' spasmodic opening to Aqua Dementia arrives muffled. 

As the lasers continue to cut through the air like some sort of budget Prodigy light show, you begin to see why some 'old' fans grumble. Their favourite sludge giants air almost all of the new album while ‘Remission’ is represented only by Ol'e Nessie. Still, the new stuff rocks the bollocks out of Brixton and, up to a point, garners the biggest crowd reaction.

Until Blood And Thunder, that is. Presented with the same technical precision, passion and complete badassery present on record, that riff is a call to arms. Even Dailor's post-gig, customary thankyou speech doesn't detract from the unadulterated metal that has crushed the place. With chart-bothering albums, a die-hard fanbase and live shows this damn good, intergalactic domination can't be far off. Watch this space.

Mastodon Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon December 01 2014 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Tue December 02 2014 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol

Click here to compare & buy Mastodon Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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