Recorded in 2009 at the Aragon in Chicago, Live at the Aragon shows the mighty Mastodon supporting their album Crack the Skye album in front of a rabid audience. The rise of Mastodon over the last few years from underground favorites to a mainstream metal phenomenon has already been documented to death, but you can really see here on this excellent CD/DVD set why this band has earned all the praise.
With a set heavily leaning on the Crack the Skye album, you don't really get a lot of the back history of Mastodon here, but it matters not really, as the band crushes with their interpretation of the highly technical & progressive nature of that album. The musicianship of these four musicians is staggering throughout, as they blast their way through numbers such as "Quintessence", the monstrous "The Czar", "The Last Baron", "Oblivion", "Ghost of Karella", as well as old favorites like "Mother Puncher", "Acqua Dementia", and "Where Strides the Behemoth". The stars of course are lead guitarist Brent Hinds and drummer Brian Dailor, both virtuosos who never fail to impress with their technical abilities.
As good as this show is, the one negative drawback are the vocals, which in many spots are quite weak. Hinds especially comes across the worst, as his nasally and often times shrill delivery is extremely annoying at times. Dailor might have the best voice of all of them, but he also suffers in his delivery as he's attacking his drum kit with reckless abandon. The one who stands out here is bassist Troy Sanders, who still carries over his trademark roar which he perfected on the earlier albums. More often than not he's right on point during this show, which can't be said for his bandmates.
As it is, I guess the vocals are the 'warts' that come with this true live album, but regardless, this is still a must have release from any fan of the band and modern metal in general. The camera work on the DVD is superb, and the audio on both the DVD and CD is stellar. You also get as a bonus feature the bizarre Crack the Skye movie, which is worth a viewing.
1. Oblivion (Live At The Aragon) 6:30
2. Divinations (Live At The Aragon) 3:42
3. Quintessence (Live At The Aragon) 5:12
4. The Czar: Usurper/Escape/Martyr/Spiral (Live At The Aragon) 10:41
5. Ghost Of Karelia (Live At The Aragon) 5:24
6. Crack The Skye (Live At The Aragon) 6:07
7. The Last Baron (Live At The Aragon) 15:54
8. Circle Of Cysquatch (Live At The Aragon) 3:04
9. Aqua Dementia (Live At The Aragon) 4:21
10. Where Strides The Behemoth (Live At The Aragon) 2:52
11. Mother Puncher (Live At The Aragon) 4:15
12. The Bit (Live At The Aragon) 5:30
DVD features the full concert as well as the Crack the Skye Movie