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.