Neurosis / Mastodon LIVE review by Troy Brookins

Music Reviews
Neurosis / Mastodon LIVE review by Troy Brookins
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Jan 28, 2008, 06:00

Mastodon - Blood Mountain
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NEUROSIS / MASTODON / STORM OF LIGHT at Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Ft. Greene, NY; January 25, 2008

Thanks to VICE, metal fans had a sold out two-night wet dream of a double bill in Fort Greene at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple this past Thursday and Friday night.

Brent Hinds of Mastodon © by Troy Brookins

The 100 year-old marble columned building was the perfect venue for such an event—you needed a structure that solid to contain the damage that was happening inside. Atlanta, Georgia's Mastodon has a rabid following and doesn't have to open for anyone, but couldn't pass up the rare opportunity to play with seminal post-metal pioneers Neurosis. Tearing into the first two tracks “The Wolf is Loose” and “Crystal Skull” from their critically praised 2006 release, Blood Mountain, Mastodon had taken the stage and the crowd started to go crazy. Unfortunately, the energy of those who came to rock only lasted briefly as the kids who had attempted to get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy quickly and quietly succumbed the majority of twenty-something, and over, hipster attendees who were either too stoned or too cool to let it all hang out. Mastodon, despite the lame crowd, continued to hammer and spit out songs from Blood Mountain as well as a couple from Leviathan and Remission. They played for over an hour, never short on intensity or ferocity, and flat out kicked ass. Some complained about the sound during Mastodon's set the previous night, but the band couldn't have sounded better during Friday's performance. Neurosis - Given to the Rising

Neurosis has been around and then some. Starting out in the late eighties East Bay hardcore scene, (prompting the band to sign to Lookout! Records, play numerous shows at Gilman Street and make a brief appearance at Alternative Tentacles), Neurosis has evolved into experimental-doom-post-metal icons.

Steve Von Till of Neurosis © by Troy Brookins

Much of the current metal scene, Mastodon included, site Neurosis as a huge influence and you can definitely hear it in bands like Isis and Pelican. I hadn't seen Neurosis in well over a decade, partially due to their brief and infrequent tours, but once they started kicking into their set it was clear that they've only become better over the years. The songs were dense, tight and often loud as fuck. Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly made their guitars match the twisted and contorted cacophony of their throaty screams and wails sounding as if the Apocalypse was on their heels. The music was coupled with black and white images of eclipses, hawks and blooming lilies projected behind the band by long time Neurosis collaborator/filmmaker—and member of the opening act A Storm of Light—Josh Graham. Drawing mostly from last year's Steve Albini produced Given to The Rising, Neurosis delivered an intense wall of thickness that just crushed you as you were assaulted by repeated blows of sonic destruction coming from the stage. The experience was hypnotic, caused by the repetition of images and the enormity of the music that engulfed the auditorium. There were some quieter intermissions when the tempo began to slow into some beautiful moments, but then the stillness would rapidly transform into crushing and dynamic power—you physically felt it. This was the ride Neurosis provided from start to finish, never failing to make you remember why this band is so revered by their peers and why Mastodon didn't mind grabbing the opening slot. As good as Mastodon were—you don't ever want to follow a band that can deliver like Neurosis did. -Troy Brookins

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