Mastodon, Opeth & Ghost @ the Riv (pics/review/setlists)
photos by James Richards IV, words by Parker Langvardt
Mastodon @ the Riv on 4/13/2012
While a Watain-less Decibel Magazine show was killing the Bottom Lounge with appearances from Behemoth, The Devil's Blood, In Solitude, and Wolvhammer, the Riv was hosting a metal show of their own just across town on 4/13. Mastodon, Opeth, and Ghost brought the Heritage Hunter tour to Chicago with a headlining set from Mastodon (Opeth and Mastodon are rotating duties on this tour).
"I can see that you are ready to meet the Prime Mover," said Ghost frontman Papa Emeritus before their performance of "Prime Mover," which chronicles the conception and birth of the anti-Christ. The driving, distorted bass was met with horns from the audience. Emeritus wore the robes and hat of a dark bishop as he slowly and dramatically navigated the stage, surrounded by his black-cloaked band of "nameless ghouls." Lights shone through satanic stained-glass banners like false sunlight. Emeritus' grandiose singing was appropriate for the dark mass setting, though when he spoke between songs I was reminded of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
After all of Ghost's Satan-praising, Opeth opened with "The Devil's Orchard," proclaiming that "God is dead" over technical progressive rock. They followed with the European folk melody of "I Feel the Dark," which turns to slowly grooving metal when the bass line falls into place. Singer/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt introduced "Slither" as a "carbon copy of a late 70s hard rock song" by Dio. Åkerfeldt later remarked that "the best steak I ever had was in Chicago... made of human flesh," drawing a positive reaction from the audience, though it was around this point a guy started yelling "play some fuckin' metal!" between every song. One of the times Åkerfeldt jokingly responded, "the next song is going to be a hip-hop song." "Folklore" began with Swedish folk, turning into a winding prog song. Åkerfeldt switched from the pure baritone vocals he had been using to his other-wordly death metal growl for the last two songs, "Demon of the Fall" and "The Grand Conjuration," and the floor broke out into moshing.
Mastodon began their The Hunter-heavy set with "Black Tongue," and bassist Troy Sanders' vocals immediately sounded better than the previous times I had seen them. They followed with "Hand of Stone" and "Crystal Skull" from Blood Mountain, which showed that guitarist Brent Hinds had also improved vocally. "Dry Bone Valley" gave drummer Brann Dailor a workout as he sang and pounded out the galloping beat. It was one of the few songs from The Hunter that I was excited to hear live, aside from "Curl of the Burl." They sounded solid through every song, but it was disappointing how few songs were from their back catalog. Dailor stood up and gestured "come forth" prior to the two Leviathan songs, "Aqua Dementia" and "Blood and Thunder," that rounded out their set before the finale, "The Sparrow." The Heritage Hunter tour continues on. More pictures from the (4/13) Chicago show, below...
Mastodon - 4/13 the Riv setlist:
Hand of Stone
Dry Bone Valley
Octopus Has No Friends
Crack the Skye
All the Heavy Lifting
Curl of the Burl
Blood and Thunder
Opeth - 4/13 the Riv setlist:
The Devil's Orchard
I Feel the Dark
The Lines in My Hand
Demon of the Fall
The Grand Conjuration
Ghost - 4/13 the Riv setlist:
Con Clavi Con Dio
The Host of Seraphim (Dead Can Dance cover)