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“Fallen Heroes” by Metal Allegiance

Artist: Metal Allegiance
Title: “Fallen Heroes”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 8/12/2016
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

As most music fans will recall, 2015 ended on a really bad note when Motorhead main man Lemmy Kilmister died of cancer. It was a jarring way to close a year and while 2016 was loaded with hope and promise, it quickly slapped us with a hard dose about our hero’s mortality when it took the iconic David Bowie and master songwriter Glen Frey from us one after the other. These three deceased legends are the musical inspiration for this solid EP by Metal Allegiance, that supergroup comprised of Mike Portnoy, Alex Skolnick, Mark Osegueda and many more. The idea for the EP came from the bands founding bassist Mark Menghi and fans will get a track apiece from Motorhead, Bowie and The Eagles. I’ll opine on each of them briefly below.
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Mastodon & Clutch Announce “The Missing Link” Tour for Spring 2015

I don’t think that the larger fans who are hitting concerts these days will disagree with me about the astounding number of tours that either don’t make sense in terms of the roster or really are not giving us the best bang for the buck. Fortunately for us, this notion has been given pause as the mighty Mastodon has announced a co-headlining Spring run with Clutch and this amazing team-up will be supported by Graveyard. They’re calling this run “The Missing Link” Tour and you can check out the poster and some details below.

Tour - Mastodon - 2015

Mastodon quotes: “It was a fanboy dream to tour with poetic riffmasters Clutch back in the early 2000s, developing a meaningful kinship with these inspirational Earth Rockers!! We are truly looking forward to teaming up again for a Rock and Roll Stomp across the US with these old-time friends, the time has come!!”
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Dethklok & Mastodon @ Hammerstein Ballroom (10/30/2009)

Logo - Dethklok

Artist: Dethlok
Venue: The Hammerstein Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Mastodon, High On Fire, Converge
Date: 10/30/2009
Label: Williams Street Entertainment

The question remains is there any stopping the Metal juggernaut that is Dethklok? Having witnessed their onslaught in both the video and in the live sense I would have to answer a resounding “No”. They are a force of nature in terms of both their appeal and impact upon the minds of the young Metal keepers of the faith, and these same spenders of the hard earned concert buck seem to rally en masse whenever the band makes it known that appearances are reaching their vicinity. Shows sell out almost instantly and people who don’t get in are left wailing in the streets as they lament their sad fate. That’s some powerful feelings when it comes down to it and oh, and did I mention that this was a cartoon band? Yes indeed it is, and Dethklok are the stars of the Adult Swim program “Metalocalypse” which was created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha. The show follows the misadventures of this futuristic Death Metal band who based on their incredible earnings are viewed as an economy unto themselves in the world’s scenario. This status finds them with numerous enemies, but we shall discuss those folks a little later. Tonight was the second of two shows being held by the group and it was sold out for quite a few weeks. Interestingly enough, this was actually supposed to be the sole show, but the response was so great that a second night was added and it would fall before this one, making our show this evening the closing New York visit. The last time around they played with Chimaira and Soilent Green but tonight would bring along the mighty Mastodon, Converge and High On Fire. It was sure to be a raucous night at The Hammerstein Ballroom. Here is how the night played out.
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Mastodon @ Starland Ballroom (2/10/2007)

I had only caught Mastodon once before but really loved what they were all about so I made sure that my weekend of Metal with my friends would be complete by getting to their show at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ tonight. Sadly, a last minute snafu/miscommunication had me unable to take photos at the gig but report on it we did and to read this item just continue past their logo below.

Logo - Mastodon

Artist: Mastodon
Venue: Starland Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Converge, Priestess
Date: 2/10/2007
Label: Warner Music Group

When you listen to what Mastodon has done musically with their debut release “Leviathan” and then follow the progression along to their major label release “Blood Mountain”, you will find that they are unlike most Metal bands that are on the scene today. Obviously they are heavy as their name implies powerful giants from ancient times but there is nothing “Old School” about them. In a world of Extreme and Black meets Death Metal we find Mastodon changing the mix by offering up elements akin to Fusion and Jazz. The resulting mix gives the listener Metal music that is both technical and avant-garde which gets twisted around into new blends of aggressive music. Tonight the band would be playing a sold out gig at Sayreville NJ’s Starland Ballroom, and given this was the only vicinity show for me I just had to make sure we brought some level of coverage to the readers. I headed to the venue from Upstate New York with SoT’s Pete Pardo and I think we clocked about eighty miles from door to door by the time we arrived. After some initial confusion with entry we eventually made our way inside. Priestess and Converge would be direct support for the show but we would sadly miss anything that Priestess would be playing. Instead we would be in place at the exact time that Converge would be hitting the stage and at first I looked forward to this since I had heard several good things about them from fans of the Metalcore genre. To be quite honest, they just didn’t do it for me and while energetic on the stage were coming off as if they were playing one long song. Every riff seemed the same and the singer was just not as original as others I had seen of late. Some of the crowd loved them, and others were not. My section kept hoping that each song was the last and as they progressed I hungered more and more for Mastodon music. Perhaps they are better on recording than I was able to appreciate at this gig. We shall see if they are on a bill I attend again.
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“Blood Mountain” by Mastodon

Artist: Mastodon
Title: “Blood Mountain”
Label: Warner Brothers
Release Date: 9/12/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

With the Relapse Records release of “Leviathan”, Mastodon proved they were a band capable of breaking ground when others fear to even try. “Leviathan” would be an album that was as monstrous in sound as it was in name. The epic release was based on the Melville novel “Moby Dick” and with it the group took strong footing in a Metal scene that was blossoming once again after many years of being stagnant. The group’s move to Warner Bros. led to some to believe that the major signing would come at the sacrifice of some of the artistic integrity that made Mastodon special in the first place. They worried that a new recording would have them find a different Mastodon from what they experienced previously. The assumption would be correct as on “Blood Mountain” Mastodon brings to light just how much change one can offer the listener without sacrificing any of their impact, their musical prowess and overall delivery. “Blood Mountain” is a surprise right off the bat with wilder than ever drum patterns by Brann Dailor who is holding the riffs of Brent Hinds together as the other members pummel and reshape the style of the band. Dailor stands out in particular all over the record and makes the level of play demonstrated a thrill ride that is best experienced loud. Technically exciting, this is an album that pushes the limits of the genre by daring to become almost a Progressive/Experimental endeavor based on the amount of unique rhythms and styles that are delivered here. You will find this most prevalent in songs like “Capillarian Crest” and “Cycle Of Cysquatch” which are among the best offerings on the album as well. Don’t expect the sheer brutality that you found on “Leviathan” as its not here, but instead “Blood Mountain” offers the listener five times the musical exposition and shows that the group possesses advanced musical skills. The level of technical display shows advances in musical growth and I feel this will raise Mastodons level of appeal in the minds of fans of more Extreme Technical Metal. The use of Progressive elements will help raise the musical minds of listeners who love the Metal but as years go on might find themselves needing areas of change.
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