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Mastodon - Cold Dark Place CD (album) cover



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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
2 stars Following 2017's full release album "Emperor Of The Sand," Atlanta based sludge metal outfit MASTODON gave hardcore fans another slice of their unreleased material on this four track EP titled COLD DARK PLACE which came out in September digitally and on CD but also as a limited edition ten-inch vinyl edition that came out at the end of October 2017.

COLD DARK PLACE is basically the leftover tracks from the band's last two album session. "North Side Star," "Blue Walsh" and the title track all date back to 2014 from the "Once More 'Round The Sun" sessions and "Toe To Toes" comes from the latest "Emperor Of Sand" sessions.

There is nothing on this EP that you wouldn't expect. Nothing here is experimental or out of the parameters of the band's established style that was displayed on the retrospective albums that these were initially recorded for. MASTODON has been toning down the heaviness in their music ever since the 2011 album "The Hunter" and COLD DARK PLACE shows the band continuing their journey into less metal territory with more emphasis on progressive rock.

While most tracks are on the borderline of progressive rock and metal, "Toe To Toes" is exceptionally mellow for MASTODON's overall sound. There are more clean vocals displayed on this EP than on any proper album. Overall i'm not too keen on MASTODON's direction that they've been going.

While metal bands mellowing out and going prog rock isn't anything new or something i'm against in any way, MASTODON seems to be getting stale with super predictable tunes that cruise on auto pilot. This EP is okay with nothing being offensive but i find it quite boring compared to the greatness they unleashed a decade ago.

2.5 but rounded DOWN!!!

Report this review (#1846393)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2017 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
3 stars It is said that this EP originally was conceived as a Brent Hinds solo album. Die-hard MASTODON fans might be disappointed or maybe even upset. No reason to be biased though, as this is my first encounter with the band, for what I can remember. And, if well crafted, I do like such stuff in general. Anyway, heavy prog songs are given here, the focus is more on melody and atmosphere instead of shredding, brachial, thrashy metal riffs. Well, this move is not really surprisingly new, other bands like Opeth or Pain Of Salvation are brothers in arms here. Who really is keen on being repetitive in style again and again? And so the opening song North Side Star delivers a somewhat southern rock style, amongst other things due to the use of a pedal steel guitar.

The title track even unfolds a slight psychedelic orientation, multiple acoustic and electric guitar input plus extraordinary solo right towards the end. Super! If there is a minus ever, unfortunately the cover picture is too much darkened when it comes to me. Yes, this matches to the global design according to the album title. But you are not really able to explore the painting's expensive details, too bad. Though the main conclusion is that 'Cold Dark Place' offers four enjoyable songs in a highly melodic heavy rocking manner, coming closer to bands like Magnum, Tiles, Zip Tang instead of genuine prog metal. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1907858)
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars I usually consider Cold Dark Place more of a Brent Hinds solo album with the helping hand of his band companions than a Mastodon album. It is clear since the first notes of "North Side Star" that these are songs written by Hinds, and there were even rumours at the time that said this EP was meant to be a solo album by him.

The most famous song from this work is "Toe to Toes", which I find to be the worst of the bunch. It has a very nice guitar solo but that's all for me. It reminds me a lot of what they did on The Hunter, and that's the only Mastodon album that I don't like. On the other side, all the other songs are absolute bangers. I really enjoy "Blue Walsh" specifically, which has a chorus that makes me feel overly nostalgical.

The music is what you would expect from a compedium of songs written by Hinds but with a twist. It has the country fingerpicking styled riffs, with a lot of open strings resonating, but there's no place for agressiveness. The vocals are more laid back, and the heavy riffing is nowhere to be found. I understand that these can cause rejection in the band's fanbase, but it is a nice one-step out of their career.

I think these album will be a delight to the more prog-rock oriented guys out there, and even people who enjoy their southern rock (there's a lot of it to be found in here). And I believe it was a good movement to take all these songs and make an EP, because maybe they are a little far from what the band does to be on an LP, but this way we can enjoy them anyway.

Report this review (#2669514)
Posted Thursday, January 6, 2022 | Review Permalink

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