Hot of the back of the desert sun soaked "Emperor Of Sand", American Sludge Metal rockers Mastodon bring us four songs I hoped were b-sides from their album released earlier this year. I say that because It has grown on me greatly over the months, Mastodon have the experience and talent to write music with depth that lasts. The same could be said of these four songs however, as the title suggests, they have moved on from the warm summery sound into a "Cold Dark Place", with exception to "Toe To Toes", that song would fit snugly into Emperor Of Sand.
Climate, temperature and luminosity are highly suggestive ideas in music. The record certainly kicks off with a chilling tone, its quaint aesthetics let bustling acoustics resonate of a flute line as the song jumps straight into its moment with earthly singing, the two voices chiming with a catchy quirkiness given the sombreness setting. Its a spooky, ethereal place we drift through with an odd moment of Funk as a upbeat jive manages to penetrate this melancholic place as the song unleashes its guitar solos. The groove is rather reminiscent of CKY given the style of singing and flexing riff beneath.
"Blue Walsh" and "Cold Dark Place" are in the same realm of eerie, dark melancholy without any heavy or blunt metallic riffage. Everything is a tapestry of thoughtful riffs layers to resonate and on the first mentioned song, a rather soothing, relaxing atmosphere is conjured with strong plentiful reverberation on the vocals the drifts over the instrumentals like a graceful ghost lost in memory.
Unfortunately, this is Mastodon and so the spell of our three darker tracks are often interspersed with technically dazzling riffs that scale the fret board with pace but in doing so break the spell of this shadowy, chilling setting. The same could be said of the solos too, when the distortion picks up and the more human Rock elements come to the front, it pushes the sombre setting out of mind. I really have enjoyed this record but its kind of bitter sweet as they don't fully embrace the mysterious atmosphere they create on three of the four songs.
Favorite Tracks: North Side Star, Blue Walsh, Toe To Toes