Intro: Alexandros Topintzis
Translation: Alexandros Mantas
03 / 10 / 2017
The release of an EP on the heels of a successful in every aspect album could be viewed as a move from Mastodon triggered by commercial motives rather than artistic ones. If we consider the fact that the material of Cold Dark Place was written during the Once More ‘Round the Sun recording sessions, one could argue that it is an “old hat”, with regard to timing. Or maybe not?
Inside the mind of Mr. Hinds
Was this release, which took by storm anyone who follows closely (or not) the course of the band from Atlanta, superfluous indeed? Probably all of the above are of no importance, since Mastodon don’t screw up (or maybe not so much) even on a modest EP with compositions retrieved from the vaults.
North Side Star puts Hinds in the spotlight, as the main singer of the song, with gutsy, southern influences which initially fail to enthuse, but the rhythm part and the guitar solos (Hinds again) that are eased into the main structure of the composition steal the show. On the contrary, the more rhythmic Toe to Toes while it is built of heavier riffs, its dynamics are finally provided by the interjecting melodies of Hinds (yes, once again) in the vocal as well as the guitar parts. The five-minute Blue Walsh takes position in the middle of a Crack the Skye reference, a beautiful chorus and the trademark crescendo of Sanders and, as a whole, it will soon be forgotten. The title track that closes the album is its top moment and reveals us how Mastodon would sound like if Hinds was more melancholic that he usually is. Slide guitars, keyboards, ethereal vocals from Dailor and towards the end, just before the continuous build-up disappoints you in a greater or lesser degree, a groovy riff and a solo appear like Messiahs and give the meaning of existence not only of this song, but also of the EP.
We didn’t miss them, we didn’t expect anything better, in fact we had no expectations at all from an EP that was announced out of the blue and came to our hands for a review before Emperor of the Sand sinks in. Cold Dark Place functions more as a promo from the band to Hinds, who, truth is, is the less active member (meaning extracurricular activities aka projects). All well and good, we move on…
6 / 10
A mere few months after the majestic Emperor οf Sand, Mastodon bring Cold Dark Place to light, an EP whose duration is a shade over twenty minutes. If the concept of Emperor οf Sand brought out the natural metal disposition of the band, in their new album they sound more experimental and liberated. The stamp and signature of the very Brent Hinds is crystal clear in Cold Dark Place which conceals heavy doses from the Yolo of Once More ‘Round the Sun and introduces us to his alluring cousin Asleep In the Deep (Blue Walsh). Even though it is not artistically superior to Emperor οf Sand, it will come as no surprise if some fans of the band enjoy more this one.
8 / 10