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HARDWARES

MASTODON

Live At Brixton

(Warner Bros.)

Reviewed by : Greg Pratt
Rating : 7.5

This 23-song live digital-only release, available in both audio and video formats, looks and sounds great, the guys in MASTODON getting a full "proper" live album treatment for the first time (2011's Live At The Aragon was them playing Crack The Skye in their entirety as well as a few extras). And like most live albums, fans of the band will enjoy this look at their prog-extreme-metal heroes doing their thing, while casual listeners are better directed to the studio albums for a shinier and altogether more enjoyable listen. But, man, if you get the video, it's a hoot watching these guys go to it, tackling their insane workouts of songs with zero effort. The drumming of Brann Dailor is, as always, a particular treat to listen to, and to watch him in action is always worth the price of admission alone. No one ever said those grunting/singing caveman vocals ever sounded perfect, and that shines through loud and clear here, as does the fact that their older material packs more heft as far as energy levels are concerned. Indeed, the addition of a few classics near the end definitely serve as a wake-up call after their more difficult, progressive material, which is amazing to see them pull off live, although it occasionally ventures into blank-stare-and-confused-expression territory; it's easy to see why they wanted to simplify things a bit on their last album, The Hunter. It's extremely impressive watching and listening to these guys go for it for a solid 90 minutes, so, yeah, fans, dive in; this is one live album worth checking out.



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