Ugh. I hate writing sh@#%tty reviews about bands I like. I love Mastodon. Their entire catalog titillates and tantalizes my earbuds regularly. (Bet you never heard that description talking about some heavy metal!) Some of you might be saying: “Hey Metal Monday guy! If it’s a bad disc, why review it?” I counter that with two reasons.:
First, to prove that the world is not all sunshine and smiles.
Second, my journalistic integrity (?) demanded that I tell you, the music buying/listening public, the truth!
Ok, so live albums are more often misses rather than hits (Excluding Frampton Comes Alive! of course). When was the last time you said to yourself “Wow, what a great live album! So glad I waited for this instead of actually seeing them!” Or when does the live album even compare to a show you went to? Personally, I would rather a band focus on making a new studio album and not get distracted with all of the nonsense that comes with putting something like this together. (Marketing, packaging, promotion, etc…)
If you saw Mastodon on the Crack The Skye tour between 2009 and 2010, chances are you saw them perform Crack The Skye at least once in its’ entirety. There’s no denying the power of Mastodon live. I was lucky enough to see them perform Crack… entirely at least twice. The problem I have is with the recording itself on Live At Aragon. It just falls flat especially compared to the Crack the Skye album.
I’ve never been much for the whole “visual experience” at a show. I go to see a band rock the fuck out and hopefully not play live note-for-note what’s on an album so I have no problem that listening to this CD is going to take away from the whole experience. (Plus, you get a DVD with this package that contains all the visuals.)
Unfortunately, due to the nature of Crack The Skye, there’s little room for improvisation so you get a band playing note-for-note what’s on the record. If you really wanna hear the Mastodon experience live, skip to the end of the disc for the non-Crack tracks like “Aqua Dementia”, “Mother Puncher” or their superb cover of The Melvins’ “The Bit”.
Maybe some day we’ll be able to make recordings automatically from memory. That said, I’d wait for that technology before buying Live At The Aragon.