Mastodon and Dethklok: surely two of the biggest names in the metal scene today, if for totally different reasons—Mastodon for their trademark brand of prog rock/sludge metal fusion, Dethklok as the fictional band from the Adult Swim cartoon “Metalocalypse.” Regardless of their differences, with these two heavy hitters teaming up to headline, many a metalhead was lined up at the door of the Pageant to witness this monster of a show. First up though, was opener High On Fire, who play a style reminiscent of ’80s extreme metal. The three-piece put on an energetic performance, but suffered from drums that overpowered the guitars. They ultimately paled in comparison to the next act, Converge. Converge’s brand of dissonant and incredibly heavy hardcore punk may not have appealed to all of those who were there solely for Mastodon and Dethklok, but they nearly stole the show. Frontman Jacob Bannon simply ruled the stage, jumping all over the place and letting loose with visceral screams. Next up was Mastodon who, not to be topped by Converge, were clearly the highlight of the show.
The first half of the set was a performance of their 2009 album, Crack the Skye, in its entirety, which is surely one of the top albums of the year and maybe their best yet. Drummer Brann Dailor is a sight to behold behind the kit, with his jazzy, fill-heavy drumming style—not often do you see a drummer this talented in a live setting. After a short interlude, they concluded with a few songs from previous albums, during which they became much more energetic and looked as excited to be there as the crowd. Overall, it was an amazingly tight performance.
Closing the concert was Dethklok; I was initially wondering how they were going to pull off a live show, but they made it work with a live band accompanying videos of the animated band from the show. They may be a fictional band, much of whose appeal is strictly humorous, but they have real talent with Gene Hoglan (formerly of Strapping Young Lad) on drums, and the show’s creator, Berklee grad Brendon Small, on guitars and vocals. But, despite a few funny skits between songs, Dethklok didn’t quite meet the standard set by Converge and especially Mastodon, who lived up to their namesake and were the giants of this show.