It feels quite rare in a bands later and prominent career to release an EP after such highly acclaimed albums. Their latest Emperor Of Sand entered many top charts around the world, their biggest selling to date.
As cliche as it sounds Mastodon have always had their own sound, own personality and have always pushed themselves in a way they wanted. The last and only EP they’ve ever released was their first back in 2001 titled Lifesblood and boy was it a doozy. It showcased the more extreme side of Mastodon. Erratic and outright ferocious. It did what many other progressive metal bands at the time couldn’t. It was daring, it was raw.
Cold Dark Place, although not relatively new material, features unreleased tracks recorded during their previous albums Emperor Of Sand and Once More ‘Round The Sun.
As always, Mastodon are a band that enjoy their concept artwork and this EP features an hand drawn illustration by the talented Rickey Beckett. Incredibly detailed and fitting with the tracks. It’s the small details that give Mastodon the notoriety they deserve. It’s unfortunate the recording value comes across as somewhat flat compared to albums and the usual meaty feel of tracks and hearing the distinction between each member, but maybe that was the intention as b-sides.
The beauty in Mastodon is their ability to forge riffs and solos at any pace with the entrancing drums of Brann, it makes for an interesting yet pleasurable listen. Cold Dark Place is a dramatic change from their early days but still encapsulates their origins. Personally, I do miss the spontaneous heavier outbursts and often find myself wanting tracks to break out into mania, such as Blue Wash, although the chilled vibe and smaller outburst suffices it still feels like it’s itching to break into a beautiful heavy mess but doesn’t quite reach it’s trajectory.
The EP feels a slight drift away from their recent radio friendly releases. Toes To Toes does a great job amplifying their experimental side alongside end track Cold Dark Place, which is very ‘Mastodon’ and very reminiscent of older instrumentals. Dark, mystical and flows out beautifully.
Mastodon have had such a daring path but one they’ve been confident about. Although it doesn’t deliver quite the ‘unf’ many fans would want it’s still an intriguing release. To say where they could go from this is quite the question but for now it’s a welcome in-between.
Mastodon are on tour in the UK this December.
Check out the dates below –
2nd – Cardiff Great Hall
4th – Wolverhampton Civic Hall
5th – Nottingham Rock City
6th – Newcastle Northumbria Uni
7th – Barrowland Glasgow
9th – Manchester Academy
10th – London O2 Academy Brixton