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Mastodon's Cold Dark Place EP (2017)

Mastodon dropped their latest EP today. I got a leaked copy last week so I've already had time to obsessively listen and digest prior to buying it officially. It's called Cold Dark Place (available for a mere $5 after the jump). 

It's the best slice of music released this year thus far. It's wildly original and produced in a way that affords the soundscape breathing room, even with Brent Hind's complex time signatures and gifted guitar work. 

Recently, I read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and it affected me very deeply, on an intensely visceral level. On my second read through, I was describing to Daniel that I wish I could find music to go with it — something to pair with the desolate, bleak, southern vibe of Blood Meridian. 

The following is an excerpt from the novel to give you a dose of the Hollywoodesque sense of visual poetry that is rampant throughout the novel:

For the next two weeks they would ride by night, they would make no fire. They had struck the shoes from their horses and filled the nailholes in with clay and those who still had tobacco used their pouches to spit in and they slept in caves and on bare stone. They rode their horses through the tracks of their dismounting and they buried their stool like cats and they barely spoke at all. Crossing those barren gravel reefs in the night they seemed remote and without substance. Like a patrol condemned to ride out some ancient curse. A thing surmised from the blackness by the creak of leather and the chink of metal.
— Cormac McCarthy

Mastodon has released an EP that somehow - and as far as I know unintentionally - pairs perfectly with the atmosphere of Blood Meridian. The EP has Southern twinges and accents peppered throughout that articulate The Kid's void in his search for familiarity and camaraderie in a murderous clan of outlaws in the c. 1850s American Southwest. 

Listen closely and you will notice a horizontal slide dobro throughout the album. It’s Prog Metal flavored by a Southern character. That, combined with its spaciousness, makes for a beautiful aural analog to McCarthy’s brutal and bleak novel. Check it out, buy the EP.

J