After several interviews, Mastodon expressed their dissatisfaction with the whole Jonah Hex experience, although they were excited to contribute to the actual comic’s legacy and spent two weeks in the studio writing the material. After writing some of their finest material ever (as their bassist stated), the music producer John Powell quit the project and the Mastodians had to rewrite whole new songs, while under the stress of a world tour.
Due to low budget and time constraints, the movie itself wasn’t put together nicely, although a cast of Josh Brolin, John Malkovich and Megan Fox (who also were taking paycuts to support the movie itself) should have lead to better results and good critics. Sadly though, the movie wasn’t highly acclaimed and Mastodon’s first endeavor in the movie business was less than expected by fans. Still, considering all the problems that they went through with rewriting material and keeping up with their tour pressure, this EP will not be looked upon as the beginning of the end for the band, especially after their last album Crack the Skye which was their most musically respected album to this date, with even higher expectations for future releases.
Regarding the songs themselves, a Mastodon trace can be mildly noticed here and there, but again these are instrumental songs with little variation from one main progression idea. I personally think the band could have done way more here but when it comes to soundtracks, music is kinda forced into a certain direction and it really seems like the band were following something that wasn’t entirely their own, which they expressed in interviews saying that final versions were subdued in order to reach fellow movie composer Marco Beltrami‘s (worked on Resident Evil, Blade II, Hellboy, Underworld: Evolution, etc) vision.
The songs range from moody to heavy, kinda like post-metal bands and their lengthy songs which are based on one single idea which is reinforced by effects and mood sounds. The most repetitive song on this EP is definitely Death March while Indian Theme and Train Assault are actually good instrumental songs that could have ended up on any Mastodon record. My personal favorite song though is Clayton Boys which, in my opinion, could be easily stretched to a 10+ minute epic like The Last Baron or The Czar from Crack the Skye. The song’s first 2 mins are extremely moody with a typical Mastodon acoustic guitar feel and a drum buildup that finally kicks into a full metal song without vocals. I seriously hope the band consider reworking on this song for some future records, it’s a real killer.
Overall, any soundtrack that doesn’t bore you surely includes a 100 piece orchestra with several composers and variations (Lord of the Rings – Pirates of the Caribbean) so this EP is for Mastodon fans only, since it’s only an addition to their collection, never to recommend for those who never heard the band. I think that honor still goes to Leviathan and Blood Mountain!