(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What's cool? Mastodon, "Asleep in the Deep"

What a long, strange trip

Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds may have slipped his leash recently when he ranted about his hatred of heavy metal in an interview with Guitar Player. He's evidently been trying to overthrow the band from the inside for years, to make them into something "not such a heavy metal band." A quick listen to their latest single, "Asleep in the Deep" from last year's Once More 'Round the Sun shows that he's still got his work cut out for him.

The song has a fair amount of progressive rock influence, with rhythmic shifts, an interesting harmonic flow, and a trippy bridge interlude, but the band's metal credibility remains intact with offset guitar grind, restless bass throb, and a thickly shadowed vocal atmosphere.The lyrics paint a paranoid picture of threat, but ultimately seem to find victory against the dark miasma of fear. Maybe so, but the feeling is anything but joyful or confident.

As enjoyable as it is to settle into the Gothic embrace of "Asleep in the Deep", this showed up on my radar because of Mastodon's new surreal video for the tune, directed by the artist, Skinner. Think of it as the psychedelic response to the GoPro cat channel on YouTube. With his owner passed out on the couch, our feline hero splits in search of adventure. Almost immediately, he finds himself in a strange black-light zone, surrounded by a pack of bizarro cat-monkey puppets. And that's before the cat is dosed with some psychoactive milk. Then it gets a little strange...

This is definitely a treat, so sit back and enjoy:

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