In March 2017, Mastodon’s long-awaited seventh album Emperor of Sand hit store shelves worldwide. Coming almost three years after the psychedelic metallers’ prior effort, Once More ‘Round the Sun (2014), the album quickly became Mastodon’s fastest-selling by a massive margin and received critical and fan acclaim from the outset, while also integrating post-grunge-like melodies into the band’s style to reach a whole new audience.
Then, the shock of the century came a little over six months down the line when the team of Brent Hinds, Troy Sanders, Bill Kelliher and Brann Dailor capitalised upon their momentum with a surprise EP: Cold Dark Place. Boasting three songs from the Once More ‘Round the Sun sessions and one outtake from Emperor of Sand, Cold Dark Place didn’t quite have the same impact or accessibility as its immediate, full-length predecessor, but replaced those aspects with an increased focus on soul and emotive diversity. After all, the EP’s acoustic title track feels lightyears away from the clapping rock n’ roll of “Toe to Toes”.
As a result, Cold Dark Place is more a release for the Mastodon completionists: ones that are die-hard enough to crave yet more sludgy goodness after the masterpiece that was Emperor of Sand.