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3.75 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews
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Live album · 2011

Filed under Sludge Metal



1. Oblivion (06:31)
2. Divinations (03:42)
3. Quintessence (05:12)
4. The Czar (10:41)
5. Ghost of Karelia (05:24)
6. Crack the Skye (06:07)
7. The Last Baron (15:54)
8. Circle of Cysquatch (03:04)
9. Aqua Dementia (04:21)
10. Where Strides the Behemoth (02:52)
11. Mother Puncher (04:15)
12. The Bit (Melvins cover) (05:30)

Total Time 73:33


1. Oblivion (06:31)
2. Divinations (03:42)
3. Quintessence (05:12)
4. The Czar (10:41)
5. Ghost of Karelia (05:24)
6. Crack the Skye (06:07)
7. The Last Baron (15:54)
8. Circle of Cysquatch (03:04)
9. Aqua Dementia (04:21)
10. Where Strides the Behemoth (02:52)
11. Mother Puncher (04:15)
12. The Bit (Melvins cover) (05:30)

Total Time 73:33


- Troy Sanders / bass, vocals
- Brent Hinds / guitar, vocals
- Bill Kelliher / guitar, vocals
- Brann Dailor / drums

About this release

Live CD/DVD released 15th March 2011 on Reprise Records (9362-49647-2) / Фирма грамзаписи Никитин (4690355003045).

2LP (180 gram) / DVD Record Store Day edition released 16th April 2011 on Reprise Records (524864-1), limited to 3000 copies.

Recorded and filmed on October 17, 2009 at the Aragon Ballroom, Chicago.

Thanks to andyman1125 for the addition and Pekka, Bosh66 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

For fans of Mastodon this DVD will surely be a delight. Finally, a pro shot DVD of an entire concert is available, with full quality sound and editing. This is something fans have been eagerly awaiting for a long time now.

Mastodon’s Previous DVD The Workhorse Chronicles featured a wealth of live content from various periods in their career but none on the scale and of the quality available here, its great to see the band on a large stage absolutely in control, fully confident and completely delivering on every promise their music made from as far back as the Lifesblood EP, this DVD is a perfect culmination of the hard work and dedication documented on their previous DVD and shows a band deservedly fulfilling their potential.

On the subject of track listing, the band opens with the entire Crack The Skye album and follows up with a selection of heavier numbers gathered from all their studio albums to date. The tracks in question are “Circle Of Cysquatch,” “Aqua Dementia,” “Where Strides The Behemoth,” and “Mother Puncher,” before closing with the Melvins cover “The Bit.”

The track listing may not be to your particular tastes as many key songs such as ‘Blood and Thunder,’ ‘March of the Fire Ants’ and ‘Sleeping Giant,’ are absent but do not let this hamper your enjoyment of the set.

In terms of performance the band are on fire, delivering the complex and proggier music form Crack The Skye, supplemented by keyboard player Derek Mitchka with the same power and authority they put into the heavier and more furious material from Remission and Leviathan, Troy even does a formidable Scott Kelly impression on the tracks ‘Crack The Skye,’ and ‘Aqua Dementia.’

The band’s playing is of superb quality and importantly, the vocals are very good live. If you saw the Mastodon segment of the Unholy Alliance DVD and thought that the vocals were poor live then know that no such issue exists on this recording, everyone is on top form and with drummer Brann Dailor joining in for much more than just his allotted section on ‘Oblivion.’.

A concert performed well musically, even in situations of excellent staging and lighting is nothing if the camerawork, editing, picture and sound are poor quality. Rest assured that Live At The Aragon is of very high quality in all four departments and that no issues on any account can be fairly levelled against it.

As is the custom nowadays, you also get the concert on CD to enjoy in the car or rip to you mp3 player so you aren’t tethered to a television if you want to hear it.

In addition, the DVD features a strong and interesting feature called Crack The Skye the movie, which is not a documentary as you may expect, but in fact an extended music video of very high quality that the band performed in front of while on stage. Not a reason in itself to get the set but a welcome extra.

Finally to the smallest details; The box, DVD menus and booklet artwork are all in fitting with the ever present Mastodon style, although without the trademark gold coloured spine, this time the spine is black with gold text, although that will help separate the fact that it is primarily a DVD I suppose.

Overall I highly recommend this DVD. Put simply, if you like Mastodon, you’ll like this
I say this over and over again, for forgive me if you’ve heard this from me before. When it comes to metal live performances, if it is made available in audio and video formats, the great majority of the time I’ll reach for the video version. In the case with this Mastodon release, the user gets both at a good price, so no such decision had to be made. I still gravitate toward the DVD in this set, but just listening to the CD alone, you can feel the energy their performance creates during the atmospheric passages of “The Czar” and the in powerful CTS closer “The Last Baron”.

The live performance suffers the most in the vocal department. Brann Dailor can be excused a little, since I can’t think of a drummer/vocalist off the top of my head that sings near album standards while playing drums. Troy Sanders and Brent Hinds are often off-key and occasionally off time (naturally, not a big problem for the drummer). Despite this, the band manages to put together a very entertaining show. That’s basically the only real noteworthy flaw of the show. In addition to the entire Crack The Skye album, Mastodon performs songs from other albums, including electrifying versions of “Circle of Cysquatch”, “Mother Puncher” and Melvins cover “The Bit”.

As the band performs, visuals are displayed behind them. The main visual aid, “Crack the Skye: The Movie”, is included as a bonus feature on the DVD. I was surprised to hear that the album audio plays over top of it, saving fans the effort in syncing up the audio themselves. Nice touch!!

Putting the whole package into consideration, this is definitely worth any Mastodon fan’s money. I’d say the DVD would rate around 4 on it’s own, and the CD a 3, so 3.5 seems fair here.

Members reviews

Coffin Joe
Musically speaking...It's mindblowing!

Mastodon releases their first live recording! This set comes as an cd with a dvd included. This seems like an awesome package, but there's some scratches in the surface...I'll get to those scratches in a minute.

If you have ever been to an Mastodon concert, you know that it can be a mindblowing and intense experience. These guys ROCK, and they do it big time. Somehow they just keep spitting records out, that are better and better - reaching completely new hights with Crack The Skye (this is also Mastodons most accessible record to date). Live they are so tight, a bomb could go off without them skipping a beat or loosing a note.

This live recording captures all the intensity from their liveshows, and the record sounds great. This ain't no bootleg, folks, so expect it to be well produced and clear sounding.

The first part of the live set is dedicated to the entire Crack The Skye tracks, played in the same order as on the album, which goes great with the albums conceptual theme. The band is tearing through the tracks like there's no tomorrow, and I have nothing but awe and respect for the tongue in cheek arrangements the band plays through like it is the easiest thing in the world.

...Now for the bad part..... The singing! The lead vocals doesn't match the superb playing. It sounds thin and sometimes nasal, and takes away from the record as a whole. As Mastodon moved into the more proggy territory with Crack the Skye, they went with cleaner vocals. Something that functions well on the album but is somewhat of an issue on the live recording. Luckily they pull it off with the second half of the record, playing some older songs where the vocals are more rough and edgy.

Setwise it's a damn shame, we don't get treated with great Mastodon classics like Blood & Thunder, March of the fireants & sleeping giant.

All in all this isn't the über-awesome Mastodon performance I had hoped & you've come to expect. This doesn't mean it's bad either, but with a band that constantly raises the bar, expectations are bound to be high.

Ratings only

  • kx1992
  • Bubbix
  • Zargus
  • 666sharon666

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