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Mastodon - Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.19 | 26 ratings

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2 stars I have to say that I'm very surprised by the positive critique that Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP has received so far. To me, this release sounds more like a failed attempt at recording a soundtrack to a very flawed film. But before indulging into the music, let's touch upon the back-story behind this EP.

I've been following the production of the movie adaptation of Jonah Hex since the late-2008 announcement that Josh Brolin was taking on the lead role as the disfigured bounty hunter and the film's antihero protagonist. Since then I've been hyped about seeing this movie and imagine my joy when I heard the early rumor stating that Mastodon were writing score music for this production. This definitely sounded like a dream come true opportunaty since Mastodon had just released the excellent Crack The Skye which made me reconsider my previously indifferent opinion of their music.

The production of the movie suffered from creative differences, most notable for the writer/director duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor who quit the production in November 2008 meaning that a new director had to take over and reshoot most of the film. It was somewhere at this point that the new director, Jimmy Hayward, got in touch with Mastodon and asked them to do the soundtrack for the movie. The band went into the studio and delivered about an hour worth of material. Unfortunately, as it usually happens in movie business, many things occurred during the making of the picture and once the film was beginning to take shape it suddenly became clear to the makers (the ones that were yet to be fired) that the Mastodon's score didn't work in the context of the movie. The band was therefore asked to re-write their music which became quite a frustrating and much less inspired process for Mastodon. Luckily they pulled it off and the final product made it to the Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly EP.

This new version of the Jonah Hex score is described by the band-members as much moodier and the EP-opener Death March is a perfect example of just that. This 9 minute monster starts with a 3 minute repetition of the intro riff which then transitions into the even more repetitious main riff. There are a few minor variations of the sound here and there but it doesn't make this composition less tedious to sit through. Unlike most score composers who tend to write short scene based variations of a score, Mastodon chose to write an unnecessarily long main number that I honestly can't see getting continuous play in the 85 minute movie. The Alternate Version of Death March is actually a bit more interesting thanks to the added new guitar layer that makes the experience sound more varied in the long run. Still, I can't help but be reminded of the notorious 10 minute track called We Will Fall by the Stooges.

The remaining three compositions are much shorter and more varied in their tone. Indian Theme and Train Assault sound almost like tracks that didn't make it to Crack The Skye, which should be regarded as a compliment on my part. These tracks don't waste any time and establish their motivations right off the bat which is also the tone that I've felt when watching the Jonah Hex trailer. Clayton Boys is much less prominent, but even that track makes a whole lot more sense once you hear the Alternate Version of it.

The movie received highly negative critical reception and the 7th slot position on its opening weekend made the film a box office bomb, grossing only 20% of its initial budget before dropping out of the charts in U.S.. This is also what I imagine the fate of this soundtrack is shaping out to be. I'd be honestly surprised if anyone actually remembered this EP a year from now. Of course there are always the collectors/fans who are willing to spend their money on any new material released by their favorite band. As for everyone else, you might as well stay away from this record.

**** star songs: Indian Theme (4:10) Train Assault (4:13) Clayton Boys (Alternate Version) (3:13)

*** star songs: Clayton Boys (3:13) Death March (Alternate Version) (9:07)

** star songs: Death March (8:52)

Rune2000 | 2/5 |


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