Cold Dark Place EP

Written by: MIN on 20/11/2017 17:45:29

Only a few months had passed since the release of their excellent seventh LP, ”Emperor of Sand”, before Atlanta, Georgia-based metal band Mastodon announced that they’d soon be releasing a new EP titled “Cold Dark Place”, containing cuts from sessions during the recording of the aforementioned “Emperor of Sand” and the band’s sixth full-length record, ”Once More ‘Round the Sun”. The EP’s first single, ”Toe to Toes”, was released on September 2nd, and it instantly hinted at this record being a personal effort from the hands of vocalist and lead guitarist Brent Hinds, featuring a narrative much more first-person than what’s common for this four-piece.

The EP focuses a lot on the relationship between Brent Hinds and his previous girlfriend, resulting in an outing with a much more relatable framework than usually. That’s not to say that Mastodon haven’t been able to provide food for thought on their previous releases, it just means that this time around they’re more direct compared to when they disguise a topic in stories about magic warlords and ancient emperors. The four songs which this EP composes of might have been released under the Mastodon-moniker, but it’s very clearly been directed by Hinds. The song-structures, too, seem to have been created around his guitar, which more often than not takes charge and initiates the tracks, mostly through slow build-ups to complement the emotional set of songs. As a result, both the title-track and the opener, “North Side Star”, have some trouble getting started, but once they pick up the pace, some great song-writing and guitar work unfolds, especially during the latter where fierce riffs and melodies hurdle atop each other, unleashing a tornado of sound much resembling the tortuous branches on the album’s dark, ominous cover.

Previously mentioned single and definite highlight “Toe to Toes” features as the EP’s third song, and after the monotonous, mid-tempo effort “Blue Walsh”, its playful guitar-picking is a thrill to listen to. The main riff that follows and features throughout is a perfect combination of jittery joy and sludgy, inward suction – like a butterfly trying to escape a tar pit – which cements how wonderfully unique and unafraid of change Mastodon is. The song doesn’t really have an actual chorus, yet it’s the catchiest offering out of the four, and Hinds’ self-examination nicely reflects the music on display:

I walk alone, into the darkness // I came toe to toe and face to face with the beast // He knew me by my name, it was surprising // He knew everything about me that I despised (…) He had gold and he had silver // He had all the women and wine that you'd ever need // Just one thing, a prick of your finger // Spell your name in the sand and do it with your own blood

“Cold Dark Place” was originally intended as a solo work, and it definitely feels like it. It’s an unusually mature and much different release from the band, and it would’ve felt strange to have these songs incorporated into one of the band’s LPs. Most of the EP surely feels like the b-side material it’s intended to be since initial discarding, but some decent songwriting and alternative sidetracks steer the record safely to port; it’s no wonder that Mastodon’s A game gets them so far with leftovers like these.


Download: North Side Star, Toe to Toes
For The Fans Of: Baroness, The Sword, Red Fang
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.09.2017
Reprise Records

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI