Mastodon Release Haunting, Jazzy New Single “Sickle and Peace”

Photo by Jimmy Hubbard

It’s obvious that on their new album Hushed and Grim, Atlanta stoner metal champions Mastodon are digging deep. While the band are definitely known for their fun, hard rock-leaning crunch-fests, the music released from this album thus far has seen them playing with tempos, themes, and broad concepts that your average hard rock band might be scared to touch. Case in point, Mastodon have just released the latest single from the record, and it’s definitely got an eerie, out-there feeling to it that’s distinctly them.

What’s interesting about “Sickle and Peace,” Mastodon’s new song, is how it mixes a proggy rhythm and riff with ambient music more akin to, say, goth or noise. On the one hand, the track’s central guitar part definitely has a spring in its step and an experimental vigor to it that one normally assigns to virtuosic players. On the other, the overall feeling of the track — especially during drummer Brann Dailor’s vocals during the chorus — is that of the Roman underworld, grand and shadowy and dour. It would be an awesome Halloween track if it didn’t sound so earnest in its pain.

These flavors make sense, given how Dailor has described the cover art for Hushed and Grim: “Essentially, to be brief, [the tree] is an afterlife mythology that when you pass away, your spirit goes into the heart of a tree and then experiences all the pillars of your in successions of the seasons that the tree experiences. That is the way you’re able to say goodbye to the natural world and move on to the next dimension. You can see a green man in the center of the tree — the heart of the tree — and that is our good friend and manager Nick John, who passed away, unfortunately, a couple of years ago [after a battle with pancreatic cancer].”

Check out “Sickle and Peace” below:

Mastodon’s Hushed and Grim is available for preorder. Check out the full tracklisting and cover art below:

1. Pain With An Anchor
2. The Crux
3. Sickle And Peace
4. More Than I Could Chew
5. The Beast
6. Skeleton Of Splendor
7. Teardrinker
8. Pushing The Tides
9. Peace And Tranquility
10. Dagger
11. Had It All
12. Savage Lands
13. Gobblers Of Dregs
14. Eyes Of Serpents
15. Gigantium

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Words by Chris Krovatin