Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mastodon : "Cold Dark Place "

Taking another step away from being a metal band, this e.p is comprised for tracks left over from sessions from their past two albums, though according to Hinds the songs were written when he was going through a difficult break up which might explain the undercurrent linking them, "Northside Star" starts off with an odd folky prog ambiance until the layered vocals come in. It's not far removed from the darker more melodic moments on "Crack the Skye".  Some of the guitar textures almost feel like country. Then there is a funky tempo shift. The groove is pretty cool, that thickens as the song progresses. Which makes this fit the definition of progressive rock as it doesn't end where it started and actually goes somewhere. The guitar solos are not wanking for the sake of wanking , but place dramatic accents in a manner more like Pink Floyd.

The maturity of their song writing is again apparent on "Blue Walsh" . While it doesn't sound like Joe Walsh, aside from the fact their are some interesting guitar passages it feels more like post- Layne Alice in Chains. In some ways more straight forward for them. The Thin Lizzy influence still lurks about. It is darker, more introspective and feels lyrically much more personal than what we have heard previously from these guys. It does pick up into a more mathy angular section allowing Troy to bellow over it. Of course I am going to like the more somber tone to everything. The country thing is hinted at again leading into the single from the album "Toe to Toes".  There is a more dizzying riff in the first verse, with a upbeat strummed chorus. Hind's vocals have really improved here. The Think Lizzy influence is even more apparent.

The album closes with the title track, which is more of a ballad with more of a western under current. While I like the subtle creepiness of it and the lyrics it takes a few listens for it to begin to click with me and I would not say it's the strongest of the four songs. The drums are further back in the mix than normal for these guys. Overall I think these are four of the strongest songs of their career of the basis the feel more honest and are darker. I think if they had included them on the last album it would have given it perhaps too much of a "Crack the Skye" like quality so can understand why they stand alone here and will give this a 9.5.

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