First up tonight is Krokodil, who have the task of warming up the house PA. Featuring members, Dan Carter (Hexes), Laurent Bernard (Gallows), Dan Foord (SikTH), Alex Venturella(Cry For Silence) and vocalist Simon Wright (Liber Necris) . Having just released their utterly fantastic debut album “Nachash” via Spinefarm Records, the six piece take to the stage as the venue slowly fills and proceed to knock seven shades of shit out of all who are present. What is apparent from the get go with Krokodil, is the demonic depth and range that vocalist Simon Write conjures up, as he paces the stage.
With a muddy sound during the first few tracks, the clarity of the PA is now in the bands favor and we are treated to an onslaught of riffs that have the weight of a small mountain or two. With tracks like “Shatter”, Skin Of The Earth” and “Porcelain Bones”who the fuck is gonna argue with these guys? Krokodil write unpredictable, heavy as fuck, captivating music, that will no doubt see them headlining their own tour in the not too distant future. Fantastic!! 4/5
Big Business are a band that splits opinions and tonight there are plenty floating around. A three piece (sometimes four) originally from Seattle (now based in L.A.) who have a sound that can only be described as “drum friendly” tonight. Whether it was the sound in the venue or the band themselves, there was not really a connection with Big Business tonight. The house mix seemed to overshadow bassist / vocalist Jared Warren and focused on the frantic drumming from Coady Willis. Originally a two piece, Big Business seem to be missing guitarist Scott Martin tonight and as a result the music sounds very very different to what I was expecting and have come to enjoy on the bands latest album “Battlefields Forever”.
There were moments of greatness here tonight but ultimately the sound was lost in the mix. The absence of guitars was too much to ignore which was a great shame, as these guys have the potential to melt your face off. 2.5/5
Speaking of “melting faces”, a now rammed Academy got just that, as Mastodon took to the stage and tore into opener “Tread Lightly” followed by “Once More Around The Sun”. They sound huge, ultra tight and are visibly pumped with energy for tonight’s show! Brent seems to be in particularly good spirits as he stomps, head bangs and pulls shapes all the while lashing out mammoth riffs.
“Blasteroid” and the magnificent “Oblivion” come rolling out and cause a battering, sweaty human whirlpool on the main floor, with moments of calm as everybody under the roof sings the heart soaring chorus. Focus on the drumming skills of Brann Dailor for just a moment and you will be just shaking your head in disbelief, as he manages to sing and play with such ease, all the while displaying a skill that most can only dream of possessing.
With little stage banter apart from Brent who tells the sold out crowd, “we have been all over the world and right here in Ireland, is where we have the best crowd, we love you guys, we really really do” this statement of course, causes a deafening roar before Brann blasts into the intro to “The Motherload” and the crowd peak and blow their collective loads in an ecstatic frenzy! Troy (Bass) and Bill (Guitars) work the low end as Brent rips out a pitch perfect solo leaving jaws on the beer soaked floor, and we are only five songs in!
More tracks from the excellent “Once More Around The Sun” in the form of ‘Chimes At Midnight” and beautifully heavy “High Road”. Troy’s vocals are gritty, powerful and on point. As the opening chords from Leviathan album track “Aqua Dememtia” hit the PA, the sheer level of crushing heavyness of Mastodon is unleashed in all it’s beauty! Brent snarls and spits his vocals with intense conviction causing a pit that I have not seen the like of since the mid 80’s!
Going back further in the bands back catalogue see’s “Ol’e Nessie” from Remission get a blasting followed by some more recent stuff from the present album and Crack The Skye with “Halloween, Aunt Lisa, Divinations, Bladecatcher” and “Black Tongue”.
Mastodon are just on fire tonight and are clearly happy to be here. Their approach to live shows is a refreshing change from the bullshit banter we are sometimes subjected to. As they reach the final stretch of the setlist with “Ember City, Megladon, Crystal Skill” they finish on the fucking epic “Blood and Thunder” which just rumbles not only through the main floor but seems to shake the very foundations of the entire building.
Mastodon are a spectacular band on record and also in a live setting, offering complex, thought provoking, intensely satisfying music that is very much on the forefront of modern Metal . Tonight was an experience that I will not forget any time soon and hope to witness again and again. 5/5
Words – Oran O’Beirne
Photography – Steve Dempsey / Down The Barrel Photography.