For people who, like me were unsure whether this EP would suite their tastes, or whether it was even a good move for the band, I highly recommend that you give it a try. Mastodon don't seem like the type of band to release this kind of non-studio album career-aside, given their penchant for serious concept albums, their growing progressive rock leanings and their almost unrivaled artistic vision.
I can fully understand if fans are skeptical of this release but I can gladly say that this EP is no disappointment and the quality of writing is up to a very high standard indeed. Had the artwork not featured the movie poster, but something more Mastodon in style, people would be more inclined to trust this release.
The EP opens up with `Death March,' a slightly creepy intro that has something of Pink Floyd's `Empty Spaces,' about it, while retaining that signature Mastodon sound. The instrumental nature of the tune, its slow menacing building and the bleak atmosphere which it creates suggest a Neurosis influence and are also oddly close to the spirit in which tracks like `Old Nessie,' and `Hearts Alive,' are written. It takes a full five minutes before the drums properly come in, at which point the song opens up and really feels like an official Mastodon track.
The second track, `Clayton Boys,' even breaks out into a fast and heavy ending which sounds like it could be off either of their two most recent studio albums.
`Indian Theme,' is just a Mastodon song in every way, in the spirit of `Blade Catcher,' and `Quintesence,' and I could honestly see the band playing it in concert from now on on musical grounds, however unlikely that is in reality.
The final unique track (the two last songs are alternative versions of the first two) `Train Assault,' is superb; it is truly fantastic and evocative Mastodon music, with all the passion and progressive leanings of the best moments from Blood Mountain and would feel welcome on any Mastodon best of compilation or playlist. If you aren't sure if this EP is for you, listen to `Train Assault,' and you will be have probably purchased the EP before the track has finished.
The production is better than you may be expecting too, given the nature of the project. Only the lack of Vocals, the cover art and the actual reason for its creation separate this music dramatically from the rest of the band's catalogue, otherwise it fits in quite well.
If this music were to have been released as just a new Mastodon EP, it would surely be welcomed with open arms as it fully deserves to be on purely musical merit.
Death March is a dirge as you would expect, but a dirge in a good way. It's doom and gloom, menace and nerve jangling bass, guitar and drums. No vocals, but that's OK. It builds to a shuddering climax...then drifts away into...who knows?
Clayton boys, my favourite track, starts off slow, bit Zeppeliny and ends triumphantly in a blast of riffing and pummelling drums.
Indian Theme gets to the riffs a bit quicker and never lets up, blimey this is relentless.
Any let up in Train assault? Well it starts off quiet and electronic but soon builds up to, yes you've guessed it, barnstorming riffage, foundation rattling bass and stomach churning drums.
And that should be it but no, the extra alternate versions are sufficiently diverting to deserve their place here and indeed take the length of this EP almost into album territory which makes the price of this download a proper steal.
I've gone into more detail in this review than I would for most albums but I think this EP deserves it. I know that we all love "proper" albums but if bands want to release "part works" of this standard at non rip-off prices like this then I for one won't be complaining.
on 13 July 2010
Having purchased this ep and listened to it several times, I would strongly urge you not to waste your money on it, it's terrible, really not up to the standard we know and love from Mastodon. I know it's a soundtrack, but it dosen't really cut it as a stand alone piece of music. You are far better off getting High On Fire's Snakes for the divine, which is awesome.