Mastodon, with Burning Brides

There was a while there in the late '90s when it looked like metal was in big trouble. That whole nü-metal fiasco replaced the heaviness with whiney posturing and gimmickry. Thank God (or Satan!) for Mastodon. But really, who would have expected that these could-be saviors of the Sabbath, Maiden and Slayer legacy would come from Atlanta, would be named after an extinct ancestor of the elephant, and would center their second and highly acclaimed album, Leviathan, around the story of Moby-Dick?

Well, it's obvious after just one listen to Leviathan that these guys are the real deal. Merging technical prowess with unadulterated intensity, these guys are about as heavy as you can get. They've not forgotten the legacy left by the greats, which they make abundantly clear by taking elements of classic metal and merging them with the best from recent metal movements such as doom and progressive black metal.

To see them live is to get pummeled by pros. They've survived opening up for Slayer and played with just about every band that means a damn thing in metal right now, and they've rarely disappointed. And with Burning Brides tagging along for the ride, it looks like one hell of a night.

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Chris True