26th January | O2 Academy
Photos: Jess Greenwood
Saturday 26th January heralded the arrival of heavy metal tyrants Mastodon and with their arrival came the heaviest show of 2019 thus far.
First to play were heavy metal newcomers, Mutoid Man. Mutoid Man are a heavy hard-rock band from New York who describe their sound as a fusion of hardcore punk and metalcore. The band themselves were exciting to watch and had an impressive, full sound, despite only having three members. It is no small task opening for one of the most popular metal bands of the 2000s and Mutoid Man were an engaging and ferocious opener.
Next were the Norwegian black metal rock and rollers, Kvelertak. Kvelertak are renowned for their impressive performances and their distinctively energetic front man Ivar Nikolaisen. Having formed in Stavanger, Norway in 2007, the group have coined the genre “Black n Roll” which incorporates elements of 1970s hard rock and aspects of traditional black metal.
Kvelertak were vibrant and powerful, whipping the crowds into a mild frenzy. The combination of the heavy guttural shrieking and fast-paced melodies were engaging and a joy to watch and the tenacious energy of the band had crowds of metalheads rejoicing.
Finally Mastodon arrived and the room erupted. Sauntering on to the dulcet tones of Gene Kelly, the band were quick to throw themselves into their set, boldly opening with ‘Iron Tusk’ from their second album, Leviathan. The band were flawless technically with the distinctive drumming of Brann Dailor leading the crowds into the first pit of many. The talents of guitarists Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds created such a massive sound and lead singer/bassist Troy Sanders provided the heavy vocals to match.
The band cultivate such tenacious energy on stage that is translated effortlessly to the crowds below. They are both impressive technically to watch and a delight to experience. The setlist consisted of a mixture of classics from Leviathan and Remission intertwined with a couple tracks off of their most recent album, which sated the appetite of modern Mastodon fans and seasoned veterans alike.
Mastodon maintained the attention of the crowd, playing gentler tracks such as ‘Chimes at Midnight’ and ‘Crack the Skye’, which despite being heavy tracks, had a much slower, more psychedelic magic. There was such a mellow peace with these tracks and whilst the crowd slowed and swayed along, the band sustained the attention and the palpable energy of the venue. The set was finished with inarguably Mastodon’s most popular track, ‘Blood and Thunder’ and such was an incredible end such an enchanting gig.
It isn’t difficult to understand how Mastodon have captured the hearts and spirits of so many. With their flawless performances, impressive musicality and elaborate storytelling, there are so many different elements that garner so much attention. The band have made a home for themselves in Bristol and Bristol has welcomed them gladly.
See the video for ‘Clandestiny’ here: