Mastodon’s 2009 album Crack The Skye is a modern metal classic – heavy, melodic, at times psychedelic, at times progressive. It finds Mastodon in fine form, fine-tuning the twin-guitar attack and multiple-vocalist approach of earlier albums. Mastodon played the album in its entirety live across the world over the following year, and this live set is taken from a show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.
The CD portion of the album features all of Crack The Skye as well as “Circle Of Cysquatch,” “Aqua Dementia,” “Where Strides The Behemoth,” “Mother Puncher” and Melvins cover “The Bit.” The performances are much more raw than the tidier approach on the album, and at times the vocals suffer a little bit, but props to the band for keeping these raw takes intact rather than polishing them up. The mix is pretty raw too, and it all somehow works, presenting a slightly different angle of the band compared to the polished, psychedelic mindfuck of Crack The Skye.
The set also includes a DVD of the show, and guitar geeks will appreciate the chance to see first-hand exactly how those layered riffs are performed. It’s also neat to see so much electric 12-string guitar featured. As a nifty little bonus, the Crack The Skye film which was shown behind the band on stage is also included. All you need is a projector and a screen and you could perform your own damn Mastodon gig!
Check out the video here for an example of the slightly raw but definitely rocking feel of Live At The Aragon.