Atlanta metal giants Mastodon and Swedish progressive metal favorites Opeth are in the midst of their co-headlining US tour, which features support from avant-metal act Zeal & Ardor. The 15-date run kicked off in Asheville, North Carolina, at the ExploreAsheville.com Arena on November 16th and is set to conclude in Denver, Colorado, at the Mission Ballroom on December 5th, with tickets available here. The trek made its way to New York City at the legendary Hammerstein Ballroom this past Saturday (November 20th) for a gigantic showing.
Supporting their brand new album Hushed and Grim, Mastodon played a slew of new songs in NYC: “Pain With an Anchor,” “The Crux,” “Teardrinker,” “Skeleton of Splendor,” “Pushing the Tides,” “More than I Could Chew,” and “Gobblers of Dregs” (marking the track’s first-ever live performance). The crowd swayed and sang the new tunes as loud as they could, as the band shook all 12,000 square feet of the ballroom with their tremendous sound, which was accompanied by psychedelic visuals being displayed on a huge LED wall, plus gnarly lasers shooting high above past the balcony.
Mastodon also dished out classics like “Crystal Skull,” “Megalodon,” “The Czar,” “Mother Puncher” and “Blood and Thunder” during their 14-song set. Additionally, joining Troy Sanders, Brann Dailor, Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher onstage for this run is keyboardist João Nogueira, who contributed to the studio recording of Hushed and Grim and who is also known for working with The Claypool Lennon Delirium and Stone Giant.
Boasting new live drummer Sami Karppinen (Curse, Therion) following the departure of longtime drummer Martin “Axe” Axenrot due to a “conflict of interests,” Opeth played a 75-minute set of their own filled with strong numbers like “Demon of the Fall,” “Cusp of Eternity,” “The Devil’s Orchard,” “The Drapery Falls,” “Windowpane” and “Deliverance.” Prior to the start of the pandemic in 2020, Opeth were out and about supporting their 13th full-length offering In Cauda Venenum on a tour with Graveyard, which hit NYC’s iconic Apollo Theater. This time around, Opeth performed just one song off the 2019 opus, kicking off their set with “Hjärtat vet vad handen gör,” and rounding out their eight-song performance with the title-track to 2016’s Sorceress.
Blending the sound of African-American spirituals with extreme metal, Zeal & Ardor, masterminded by Manuel Gagneux, brought fresh new music to the Manhattan stage, performing “Wake of a Nation,” “Church Burns,” “Götterdämmerung,” “Run” and “Death to the Holy” as fans trickled into the venue from the massive line outside that wrapped around 9th avenue. Hitting the stage decked out in black robes, Manuel and company also played a few tunes off their 2018 LP, Stranger Fruit, in the form of “Ship on Fire,” “Gravedigger’s Chant” and “We Can’t Be Found.” The band is getting ready to drop a new self-titled album on February 11th.
Meanwhile, Mastodon’s New York City invasion didn’t end with the Hammerstein show. Coming off a fresh Grammy nomination, the band performed “Teardrinker” on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Tuesday night (November 23rd).
Watch Mastodon’s Late Night performance, and see our exclusive gallery of photos from the NYC show below. Pick up tickets to the remaining shows via Ticketmaster.
Mastodon, Opeth, and Zeal & Ardor Photo Gallery (click to enlarge and scroll through):
All photos by Johnny Perilla