Chris Earp, Broadside Correspondent

This Halloween, two iconic heavy metal bands made their way to George Mason University for a show to end all shows. The headliners, Dethklok and Mastodon, are both unique within the genre.

The former is actually a cartoon band around which the television show Metalocalypse is based. The short comedy takes a satirical look at the metal world, poking fun at the industry and bands themselves.

Real musicians record Dethklok’s music, and two genuine albums later, have amassed a large and rabid fan base.

Mastodon has been an integral part of American metal for years. Since the Atlanta-based band first crashed onto the scene with Remission in 2002, their music has been evolving steadily.

The product of this evolution is Crack the Skye, a concept album that fans had the pleasure of hearing played all the way through this Halloween.
One of the reasons that heavy metal concerts are so much fun to attend is that the fans are so energetic.

The excitement that I felt just milling about, trying to find my seat was absolutely electric. It seemed like everyone I saw was wearing a Mastodon or Dethklok shirt, and some were even dressed like characters from Metalocalypse.

On my way to my seat, I asked as many people as I could which band they were there to see. The general consensus was that Dethklok’s presence bought the ticket and that Mastodon was an added bonus of very precious value.

The opening bands, High on Fire and Converge, also had a good number of fans come out, but many of the people I spoke with hadn’t even heard of them. When I took my seat, High on Fire charged onto the stage and the show began.

Their music was intense and unrelenting, drums pounding ferociously and mean guitar riffs scorching our ears. Their set was about half an hour long, with absolutely no decrease in energy. Converge’s set was a classic example of what can go wrong at a concert.

The sound levels were so erratic and uncontrolled that for some songs only the drums were truly audible and for others the bass drowned out the singer.

It was difficult to watch because the band obviously has an immense amount of talent, but it was overshadowed by the mistakes made at the soundboard.

Mastodon’s set was an absolute triumph. Backed by a video screen featuring a psychedelic film, they fulfilled every fan’s dream. Not only did they play “Crack the Skye,” but they finished with classic songs such as “March of the Fire Ants” from the album Blood Mountain. Brent Hinds’ guitar playing was genuinely original and his solos were melodic yet unsettling. Dethklok was no less impressive.

Special unseen clips of Metalocalypse played at different intervals throughout the show, adding comedy to the evening.

The band itself was musically spot on for the entire evening, a huge feat considering the technical difficulty of songs such as “Thunderhorse.”
Overall the night was full of excitement and brutal energy, both fitting qualities for a Halloween show.