7th February 2019
Mastodon feat. Scott Kelly of Neurosis - “UK and European Tour” 2019 - Special Guest: Kvelertak - Opener: Mutoid Man
The Grammy-winning Hard Rock quartet MASTODON has confirmed its return to live stages with an extended tour through UK and Europe. The gig in Oberhausen is one of the few where the band will also feature Scott Kelly from NEUROSIS, on top of two excellent support picks, so the fans had something special to look forward to.
Progressive Metal formation MUTOID MAN from Brooklyn, New York, was the first band on today’s list. The band has been formed in 2012 and they have released two albums since then (‘Bleeder’ in 2015 and ‘War Moans’ in 2017). https://www.facebook.com/mutoidman / http://www.mutoidman.com
Music & Performance
Exactly on time at 8pm, the three members of MUTOID MAN went on stage and played the opener ‘Melt your Mind’ from their latest album. The insane drumming speed was characteristic for the whole set to come, as the live set-up underscored the Punk influences in MUTOID MAN’s style. The musicians underscored their considerable qualities during a drum and a bass guitar solo. However, the band suffered from a sub-optimal sound especially at the beginning of their 30-minute set, as the mix came across muddied and undifferentiated with the vocals completely buried underneath. However, Singer Stephen Brodsky seemed to have fun during the gig, handing out middle finger gestures to the audience with a bright smile.
01. Melt Your Mind
02. Bone Chain
03. Micro Aggression
04. Kiss of Death
05. Date With the Devil
06. 1000 Mile Stare
07. Wreck and Survive
Total: 6 / 10
Whoever saw the Norwegian six-piece band perform in the last years (e.g. as a support for the recent leg of the ‘WorldWired’ METALLICA tour), knew what was coming at them: Uncompromising Metal with Norwegian Lyrics. KVELERTAK have released three albums so far. In July 2018, the band lost their singer Erlend Hjelvik, who decided to leave the band. However, the band decided to continue and replaced him with Ivar Nikolaisen. https://www.facebook.com/Kvelertak / http://www.Kvelertak.com
Music & Performance
Around 8:45pm the room lights fell dark, the stage was illuminated with moving searchlights, a headliner-worthy intro music came on, and KVELERTAK started with the song ‘Åpenbaring’ from their 2013 album ‘Meir’. The characteristic guitar hook lines of the song made it very clear why KVELERTAK - despite the Norwegian vocals - are enjoying such a wide recognition among heavy music enthusiasts (including James Hetfield, who gave them the support tour slot). The way KVELERTAK employs the band’s three guitars, puts their playing on a different level, and makes it a brutal force to witness live. Singer Ivar also handled the singing (or better: growling/ screaming) role pretty well. During the longer instrumental parts, he stared down audience members with a manic facial expression, or he bit his fingernails and tried catching his own spit. Ivar also took multiple crowd surf tours in the Turbinenhalle.
For the last song ‘Kvelertak’, he hoisted a giant black flag with the band’s logo, and after 45 minutes the spectacle ended, with the people being notably warmed up for the main act.
02. Bruane Brenn
Total: 7.8 / 10
As one of the most internationally respected and influential heavy Rock bands of their generation, MASTODON, continue to thrive in musical, lyrical and compositional terms to become their own musical genre. The current album, ‘Emperor Of Sand’, won the Grammy Award 2018 in the category “Best Metal Performance” for the title ‘Sultan’s Curse’. That same album was also nominated in the category “Best Rock Album”. This marks MASTODON’s first Grammy win after five Grammy nominations so far. The album also landed in #1 of the Metal Hammer Top 100 albums of the year and MASTODON were honoured as “Best Live Band” at the 2017 UK Metal Hammer Golden Gods. ‘Emperor Of Sand’ is a commercial as well as a media success for the band. Not only is it the band’s third release in the Top 10 of the Billboard Top 200, it also debuted directly on #1 on the Billboard Rock charts and #1 on the Physical Album charts. Check out www.mastodonrocks.com / https://www.facebook.com/mastodon.
Music & Performance
At 9:50pm, the mayhem begins in the lightest possible way, as GENE KELLY’s ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ is played over the PA, with hundreds of visitors screaming and shouting in anticipation. The mood changes significantly, as the band plays the opener ‘Iron Tusk’. The progressive, stoner, sludge metal quartet conquers the room with its sheer acoustic heft from then on, as the band barrels out song after song with little to no stage interaction or some light-hearted banter with the stage. The fans love it anyway, so it is interesting to watch the band sharing the singing duties between themselves for each song. Especially drummer Brann Dailor does an excellent job on the vocals for one of the more accessible songs of MASTODON, the epic ‘Steambreather’.
Otherwise, the stage production is elevated by a number of giant LCD screens in pillared form at the back of the stage, showing trippy depictions of monsters, or ‘Matrix’ like animations, carefully augmenting the impact of the mightily complex songs, lasting sometimes well north of five minutes. Occasionally, about a dozen fog machines emit wallowing smoke, which pairs nicely with the piercing stage lights and lasers to complete the overwhelming experience. A little more than half way into the set, MASTODON are joined by NEUROSIS singer Scott Kelly, who takes over the guttural screaming duties on vocals for the majority of the remaining set list. For the very but last song ‘Diamond in the Witch House’, Scott also grabbed a guitar, to augment the band’s soundscape into a massive wall of sound (if that was even possible).
The last song ‘Blood and Thunder’ from the 2004 album ‘Leviathan’ gave the crowd the final send-off after more than 90 minutes of sheer acoustic intensity.
01. Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly song) from tape
02. Iron Tusk
03. March of the Fire Ants
04. Mother Puncher
05. Chimes at Midnight
07. Precious Stones
08. Sleeping Giant
09. Toe to Toes
10. Ghost of Karelia
11. Capillarian Crest
12. I Am Ahab
14. Ancient Kingdom
15. Scorpion Breath (with Scott Kelly)
16. Crystal Skull (with Scott Kelly)
17. Aqua Dementia (with Scott Kelly)
18. Crack the Skye (with Scott Kelly)
19. Diamond in the Witch House (with Scott Kelly)
20. Blood and Thunder (with Scott Kelly)
Total: 7.8 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)