Album Review – Mastodon ‘Cold Dark Place’ EP

I know I know, I’ve written a ton about Mastodon lately.  But that’s because there’s a lot to write about.  With their number one album ‘Emperor of Sand’ coming out in the spring.  And yesterday they released ‘Cold, Dark Place’.  An Ep consisting of songs that didn’t make the ‘Once More Round the Sun’ or ‘Emperor of Sand’ albums.  And it’s good.  Really really good.

Of course, that’s to be expected, it’s Mastodon after all.  But this EP release is unique, even for them.  It’s a big step forward in their sound actually.  Even though the songs are left over tracks.  It’s evidenced right away with the album opener ‘North Side Star’.  That song sets the tone for the next 22 minutes of glorious stoner prog epics.  It’s a track that covers everything from Alice In Chains style balladry to almost a disco funk like vibe on the bridge.  Which I freaking love by the way.  Rock needs more funk in it.  And Mastodon is doing that.  People love funk in their metal and hard rock.  Is it any wonder why ‘Emperor of Sand’ went number one?

The album then moves on to the enigmatic ‘Blue Walsh’, which might be my favorite track on the short record.  It’s a Brann Dailor lead vocal which is always my favorite.  It’s such an addictive, catchy track.  Staring out with an almost Van Halen like guitar tone and riff.  It then moves into this awesome syncopated drum beat with so much funk that the funkometer is set to blow.  It’s almost tangible.  You can almost touch the sound.  You can truly feel the riff and the vocal melodies.  That’s what this band does.  They just move you in so many different ways.

Then the big single ‘Toe to Toes’ comes.  Honestly, I don’t really have the words.  It’s starts with a folksy, acoustic introduction before moving into the track.  It’s a song done in two parts.  There’s the Sanders lead vocal and the Hinds lead vocal sections.  With an old school, classic rock riff to bridge the two astonishing melodies and moods.  The Hinds vocal melodies are once again, some of the best ever done.  Only Mastodon could think of something this good in this fashion.  The final track ‘Cold, Dark Place’ is a first class tragic ballad.  The track is extremely amniotic.  It just creates the mood as opposed to running in a typical ABACAB song formula.  Of course, Mastodon are known to do that.  Brent Hinds’ southern vocal wail is in full feeling.  While this may be the weakest track on the EP, it’s still one hell of a song.

Overall, get this EP!!  It’s like this band has no limit.  They’re getting people to rethink heavy music; in a very mainstream manner by the way.  And this EP is the next step in the bands mission.  We’ll see, maybe they’ll join Alice In Chains as the only band to have a number one EP.  They certainly deserve it with writing material this good.  This isn’t just heavy rock/metal for metal listeners.  This band creates heavy music for everyone to enjoy.  And they prove that no matter what trends happen, no matter what’s musically ‘in’, there will never be competition for timeless, quality rock music.

Personal favorite track.  Just amazing.  I can’t find more specific words.  I’m speechless.  I am without speech!

 

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