On Thanksgiving eve, fans packed The Eastern in Atlanta as Mastodon and Opeth’s massive US tour rolled into town. The bands kicked off their first show on the co-headling tour in Daytona Beach on November 14th and finally wrapped up on December 5 at the Mission Ballroom in Denver.
Swiss avant-garde black metal act Zeal & Ardor were on the tour as support, and they took to the stage first, setting the mood by playing a short yet immensely powerful setlist. This was a treat as some of the tracks that they played include several from their upcoming self-titled album, which will be released on February 11th, 2022. Of course, no set setlist would be complete from them without a few of the more well-known favorites such as ‘Ships on Fire.’
Just before the tour kicked off, Opeth parted ways with drummer Martin Axenrot, and the band would go on to announce that he had been replaced with newly recruited drummer Sami Karppinen of Therion.
The band Spoke about Sami coming on board by saying:
‘Due to a conflict of interests, Martin Axenrot is no longer part of the Opeth collective,” an official statement reads. “His replacement for the North American tour with Mastodon and Zeal & Ardor will be powerhouse drummer Sami Karppinen. His first show will take place today (November 16) at Harrah’s Cherokee center in Asheville, NC
However sad it is to not have Axe in the band anymore, we’re not in a position to linger on anything that is going to hold us back. We need to soldier on. Needless to say, we’re incredibly thankful that Sami is helping us out, making this tour possible and all. On top of that, he’s quite outstanding, really! All of us wish the best for Axe in all and any of his future endeavors. He has been [an] incredibly important part of the band for many years now, and we’re all heartbroken it didn’t work out in the end. But that’s life, I guess…”
The Swedish progressive metal acts setlist was composed mainly of the greatest hits from their discography, including some tracks from their latest release back in 2019, ‘In Cauda Venenum’. Of course, some new material from the band is expected in the not-too-distant future, as they have signed with a brand-new metal label, Atomic Fire Records.
Next up was Mastodon, who were on tour to support their new album, “Hushed and Grim”, which was released on October 29 via Reprise records. This new masterpiece was shown with one of the most impressive visual displays that we’ve seen at any metal concert, featuring LED lights, surreal imagery, and crashing waves. They played an emotionally intense set with some other new songs such as; “Pain With an Anchor”, “The Crux,” and “Teardrinker.”
The band finally closed out with an encore of one of the most notorious hits, ‘Blood and Thunder’. Hearing (and seeing in this case) the new material live has to be one of the most unforgettable experiences for any concertgoer in 2021. This was a fantastic way of closing out the year for the bands. Now, especially with Mastodon using such an elaborate setup with new material, it’s an experience that you’ll want to have again in 2022.