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Mastodon review: A fabulous unrelenting metal masterclass

PUBLISHED: 09:57 25 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:34 25 January 2019

Mastodon headlining The LCR, UEA in Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

Mastodon headlining The LCR, UEA in Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

Paul Jones

American metal juggernauts Mastodon crunched into Norwich on Thursday [January 24] for a curfew-busting 90 minute aural assault.

Kevelertak supporting Mastodon at The LCR, UEA in Norwich. Photo: Paul JonesKevelertak supporting Mastodon at The LCR, UEA in Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

The band, who picked up a Grammy last year for track Sultan’s Curse, are major players on the global metal scene so to see them at the UEA on a short eight date UK tour was something of a privilege. Their status in the upper echelons of their sludge metal genre was confirmed both by the fact that they’re playing Brixton Academy on Friday night and also that their merchandise stall has wallet-heaving £70 hoodies and £60 signed albums for sale (fans were buying them!)

On stage the four-piece band from Atlanta are tighter than a cross-threaded bottle top - there’s precious little banter from frontman Troy Sanders as they quickly unleash their awesome machine-gun guitars with strobe lighting flashing in front of an ever changing swirling psychedelic backdrop.

Mastodon headlining The LCR, UEA in Norwich. Photo: Paul JonesMastodon headlining The LCR, UEA in Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

Tracks like Chimes at Midnight from album Once Around the Sun are full of bruising energy but it’s metal with melody and Sanders’ vocal delivery is an excellent low-pitched growl that stirs up the moshpit and sends the beer cups flying.

Mastodon remind me of the likes of Coal Chamber and Fear Factory from the turn of the century but with the chunky backing of bands I loved in my late teens like Carcass and the constant drum rolls recalls, for me, the sound that ripped through the entire back catalogue of Brazilian thrashers Sepultura.

Mastodon headlining The LCR, UEA in Norwich. Photo: Paul JonesMastodon headlining The LCR, UEA in Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

Scott Kelly of Neurosis, a band who are a big influence on Mastodon, enters the stage for the last handful of songs and with two singers on stage the double vocal is utterly incendiary to create a fabulous unrelenting metal masterclass.

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