Thursday 21 September 2017

Mastodon - Cold Dark Place (EP Review)

Release date: September 22nd 2017. Label: Reprise Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Cold Dark Place – Tracklisting

North Side Star
Blue Walsh
Toe To Toes
Cold Dark Place


Brann Dailor - Drums and Vocals
Brent Hinds - Guitar and Vocals
Bill Kelliher - Guitar
Troy Sanders - Bass and Vocals


When Mastodon announced their new EP there was a lot of head-scratching (and excitement for that matter). I mean they had just released one of the years top albums just a few months prior. This felt like a pretty bold and odd move. Since Mastodon certainly don't adhere to the structures of "regular" bands this however do fit in with their nature I guess. Enough about that, let's get into this EP.

I have been in love with Mastodon since first hearing The Hunter in 2011. That was basically my intro to heavy progressive music. So keep in mind that at the same point where longtime fans lost interest in the band i fell head over heels in love with them and their music.

I hear echoes of many albums on Cold Dark Place. There's definitively hints of Blood Mountain and Crack The Skye here on the opening track North Side Star especially. It almost feels like an extension of The Czar from CTS. And while Blue Walsh and the title track itself feels more like "Classic" Mastodon this is without a doubt in the vein of newer Mastodon. The tracks are littered with melody and that might not fall in good graces with some fans. That is not the case with me though, I love this EP. My only gripe is the length of the songs and as a result of that the EP itself.

With darker and gloomier instrumentation (the doomy b-bender guitars sure do add an extra layer that we previously haven't heard in Mastodon). This by no means a doomy record though. It feels very uplifting, bright in parts and full of variation. However the lyrics and emotion gives it a melodramatic taste. This keeps me coming back time and time again, I just can't seem to let it go. Just how awesome is the riffs from Toe To Toes? It makes me think of Van Halen, but in a good way. With fluffy and airy harmonics they hammer it all the way home.

For me the showstealer is Blue Walsh. This happens to be some of Mastodon's finest work regarding vocals. Especially Brann's reverb-laden verse vocals. Ethereal and crisp.

This begs for the question, why isn't this part of Emperor of Sand as a double album? While it certainly doesn't diminish any of these works, it feels like a missed opportunity. However it won't keep me from coming back to this hauntingly Beautiful Cold Dark Place.

Words by Simon Ohlsson

You can buy Cold Dark Place on CD/DD/Vinyl from here.