Mastodon: Breaking new ground with its eclectic death metal.
Scheduled to perform with Fear Factory, Sworn Enemy, and Walls of Jericho on Friday, August 20
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Boasting a pair of members from metalcore/noise rock pioneers Today Is the Day, Atlanta's Mastodon follows a similar path, breaking the death-metal mold with unusual time signatures and breaks, passages of rich melody, and a kitchen sink of eclectic sonic textures, couched in an intermittently sludgy, brutal attack worthy of bands such as Entombed or Morbid Angel. Like peers Dillinger Escape Plan, the pounding metal bottom end serves as a jumping-off point for music that combines the prog sensibilities and technical proficiency of King Crimson with the unyielding force of Slayer. While the vocals still sound like a hoarse man screaming from the bottom of a well, the guitar encompasses everything from the high-speed Sabbath-y crunch you might expect to bits of loose-limbed jazz or art-rock guitar, and groove-heavy classic-rock riffing. It's a peculiar but enticing sound (aside from the vocals) that heralds a revolution in the redundant grindcore approach that's characterized extreme metal for years.