With the band beginning to fully wrap up their Emperor Of Sand touring cycle, Mastodon have returned to Europe and venues up and down the UK with an added twist. On this leg of the tour the band have pulled an ace card out of their back pockets and invited Scott Kelly of Neurosis fame to join them for the entire run with the result being a unique show split in to two equally thunderous parts.
For the opening half of the set they teared through an absolute stream of massive hits, the opening double of Iron Tusk and March Of The Fire Ants felt like you'd been thrown in to a Mastodon show from ten or so years ago. Right from the off they had the entirety of Brixton Academy absolutely gripped and when you've got the likes of Steambreather, Megalodon, Mother Puncher and more in your arsenal that level of momentum just didn't really ever take a dive. With the fact that it hasn't been very long since the band were last in Europe it was also excellent to see them mix up the set-list quite a bit so that their loyal followers got the opportunity to experience tracks live they didn't get the chance to see approximately twelve months prior. Whether on purpose or not too, there's definitely been a reduction in tracks which are Brent Hinds heavy on the vocal side of things. It's never been the strongest part of his live performance so this was a welcome decision.
As the epic crescendo of Ancient Kingdom blasted over Brixton we came to a glorious end to act one on the night and with the unique presence of Scott Kelly making his way to front and centre of the stage we entered an unforgettable act two. For those unaware, Kelly's ties with Mastodon has been huge, with him featuring on a track on each record since Leviathan so this was a very unique opportunity on this run to see each of those performed with the man himself. His incredibly discernible roar elevated the likes of Crystal Skull and Crack The Skye on record but actually watching it live proved to be a different animal altogether.
Overall then, with Mastodon no doubt entering the studio very soon to work on the follow-up to Emperor Of Sand they granted this superb opportunity to their fans to check them out running through a relatively unique set-list which from beginning to end had every single person in attendance consistently delivering lengthy tributes in what felt like a thankful gesture that a band like them even exist. A live show separated in to two parts, both equally as crushing as each other.