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So Mastodon celebrates their "workhorse" years with a totally commercial cash-in DVD. Way to give a nod to the underground guys.
When I spotted this DVD in the store I had just bought Blood Mountain and was really digging it, and the packaging was awesome so I figured why not, I'll keep riding the good wave this band has been giving me.
Unfortunately, I buy music DVDs mainly for cool live footage, which allows me to forget I'm in my living room and simulates the live experience. The live stuff on this DVD is fragmented, of poor sonic and visual quality, and used more to show the various stages of the band's career than to entertain musically.
After that I figured I would at least be uplifted by a cool documentary which shows some insight into the band. Instead, I saw a documentary on four goons delivering unprepared, half-assed speeches to the camera that seemed to be influenced way too heavily by Jackass. Musicians are rarely funny, and should rarely try to be. Lemmy from Motorhead pulls it off, as does Devin Townsend from SYL, but I'm not even sure they're doing it on purpose. The guys from Mastodon just come off as being really dumb. And then there was the whole farting sequence... I'm not even going to go into that.
Bottom line: where's the metal? Give me some damn music you bastards! I don't want to go shopping with you; I want you to play freakin' Crusher Destroyer so I can rock out. I'll give this DVD 25%, 20 for the simple presence of each band member, and another 5 for the packaging. Hell, I think I laughed once so here Mastodon, have a 26%.
I would like to start by saying that Mastodon became one of my favourite bands along with those "old-schooled" I was used to, almost since the day I first heard "Naked Burn" on a radio show and that's because of its power, headbangin' boost (man...I've seen them twice and nice shows they were), technique and simplicity which all combined are able to offer us music in all its sheer greatness.
This DVD is perfect in the way that allows the viewer to easily follow their story (still short, yet great) with balanced dosis of fun, documentary wealth and, I insist, honesty (I guess that'll be one of their most well succeeded ingredients). You can testify all the talents of the band mates (especially Brann Dailor's astounding skills) without being massacrated with "guitar lessons", unecessary jamming, "look it's me the best player in the world" poseur attitudes, if you know what I mean. Besides, everything is told in a language able to capture anyone's attention without any problem.
In what concerns to live footage, the choice is very well done, in my opinion (in spite of the normal sound/image problems, of course). I would highlight "Ol'e Nessie", "Workhorse", "Hearts Alive" and a raw and so very different version of "Naked Burn" (I must admit every song of them is a highlight to me...). The videos appear in the DVD almost as a bonus, I guess.
I can't give a better rate just because I would prefer to see a little more of themselves (in Iron Maiden's "Early Days" style), but what the Hell...they're still young.
In a few words: very nice release! Long live to the Mastodon! May its tusks bite the entire world!