Mastodon -- Cold Dark Place

MastodonCold Dark Place

✦✦✧✧ This is at least more interesting than the band’s previous effort, “Emperor Of Sand.” By now, Mastodon have tunneled straight through their own Baroness ambitions, only to emerge in some alien post-metal proto-folkrock nowhere of their own making. So, you know, kudos for sounding unlike anything else. I’m just not entirely sure I dig it.

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra -- Broken Lines

Giraffe Tongue OrchestraBroken Lines

✦✦✦✧ This is one of those cases wherein the supergroup is very recognizably a sum of its constituents (you can very clearly strong echoes  of DEP, Alice In Chains, The Mars Volta, and Mastodon on the track “No-One Is Innocent” in particular). But there’s novelty here too, a perverse cohesion that melds into something unlike anything presaged by the bandmember’s other bands.

Mastodon -- Once More Around The Sun

MastodonOnce More Around The Sun

★☆☆☆ This album puts forth the difficult-to-dispute premise that Mastodon is slowly, steadily, smoking enough dope to transform themselves into Baroness. There’s some interesting musical direction on here, and the band’s performances are generally as good as they’ve ever been. But even on tracks like “High Road” and “Chimes At Midnight,” where you can still detect a glimmer of the swagger and bravado that really was the whole point of the band to begin with, everything feels like it was processed through a cheap King’s X or QOTSA filter.

Killer Be Killed -- Killer Be Killed

Killer Be KilledKiller Be Killed

★☆☆☆ This is a wildly uneven effort on every level.  Vocalists, energy levels, and styles change midsong without warning or reason. The low points, if we’re being very honest, is whenever Max Cavalera or Troy Sanders open their mouths to sing. (Remarkable as it may seem, Greg Puciato’s vocals are a breath of fresh air every time you get to hear them here.)