There was no witty stage banter between songs. Not even a banal “Hello, Las Vegas!” Instead, Mastodon welcomed itself to the crowd with the ascending 13-minute epic “Hearts Alive,” which showcased everything that makes the Atlanta-based band as tremendous and powerful as their name implies.
The technical marksmanship by guitarists Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds on “Capillarian Crest” and “Bladecatcher” cramped my hands just watching them. “Crusher Destroyer” was just as it sounds, a song with enough brute force to punch through titanium.
But there’s more than just sheer speed and fury that makes Mastodon the best metal band of the 21st century. Bassist Troy Sanders gives songs such as “Oblivion” and “High Road,” the latter from the band’s upcoming sixth studio album, Once More Round the Sun, a swing and groove most metal acts couldn’t arrange even if they were bold enough to try. And it’s time to recognize Brann Dailor as the best drummer in hard rock and metal, playing with a velocity and precision that would cause a drum machine to beg for mercy within minutes.
This show provided both immediate gratification and a lingering sustenance that should last until Mastodon again roars into town. Be sure to get your fill next time. ★★★★✩
Chimes at Midnight
Photos by Glenn Brogan