Happily enough, Mastodon decided to record one, and only one, performance on the supporting tour of Crack the Skye, their latest album. Apparently, the band agreed that no matter how the performance transpired that night, it would be recorded and made into this album. For better or worse, this did happen, and Live at the Aragon is out for every Mastodon fan to eat up.
Specifically, this is an album for the fans. More specifically, fans of Crack the Skye, as it is played in its entirety for the first half of the performance. This rendition is played as straight off the album as possible, vacant of any improvisation, but admirably and without major or minor fault. The second half of the performance seems almost instantly to have a lighter tone, as the band performs a few favorites off each of their previous albums. Circle of Cysquatch is a highlight, especially the breakdown within the last minute of the track. This, along with Where Strides the Behemoth and Mother Puncher, seem almost like relics when played opposite of Crack the Skye's material.
As for the performance itself, the band plays its technically oriented metal with the same precision as in studio recordings. The main draw, as with all of Mastodon's work, is Brann Dailor's fantastic drum work. Dailor also pulls double duty in Oblivion, where he sings the verses, giving a better vocal performance than both Sanders and Hinds put together. Listeners might begin to find the vocals of these two, most likely Hinds, to be a bit grating. However, I maintain, and believe with all my heart, that the vocals of Mastodon are not the stereotypical 'cookie monster' screaming, that's just the way they sing. Audio recording is adequate, I've heard both better and worse. Overall, Live at the Aragon is a solid live album, but nothing that non-fans need to go nuts over.
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A solid performance, but nothing noteworthy for non-fans. Crack the Skye is played in its entirety, and as well performed as it is, is in no way superior to their studio albums, which are highly recommended over Live at the Aragon.
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