American heavy metal band Mastodon recently released a new track from their upcoming album Hushed and Grim. The song “Sickle and Peace“, fitting with the name of the album is indeed very grim. Opening up with a echoing, mythical siren sounding lullaby we hear the main lines of the song “Death comes with him and brings sickle and peace”. Right after we hear the distinctive guitars and droning voice of Troy Sanders extending every line creating a spooky sound that also allows listeners to ruminate on the meaning. The drumming of Brann Dailor brings a jazzier feel to the song, with many seemingly random assortments of drums scattered throughout the background. Dailor also contributes his vocals to the chorus, providing a break with a younger sounding voice from the heavy voice of Sanders. A guitar solo from Brent Hinds interrupts the song around the 4 minute mark and displays Brent’s skillful mastery of the instrument and also leaves a slightly unsettling effect that fits with the themes of death and unknown.
The song is contemplating death, and perhaps the acceptance that we have of its inevitable ending of our lives and those around us. Lines like “No feeling’s ever final, Just another scar I wear and hold dear” show the attitude of the band towards death, a begrudging acceptance and pride in how we can handle it. Another theme throughout the song is the great unknown of death, and taking it in stride and walking with pride into it. A testament to bravery in the face of death. Fans can expect more themes of death and unknown on the upcoming album, as all signs point towards the band engaging in a strong contemplation of mortality. Mastodon also recently released a song and accompanying music video for their song “Teardrinker” at the beginning of October. The album is set to be released on October 29, 2021.
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz