Shirt Stains: Candledon

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March Of The Fire Hazards

When you take a step back, Mastodon have had an interesting musical evolution. They’ve had six full-length releases that started out in the sludgier realm, went a bit progressive, and are now nestling up to the same dad-prog zone that Opeth now reside.

Typically there is an impetus for such major stylistic changes. Sometimes it’s due to lineup changes. With the exception of a lead singer in the band’s early days, Mastodon have kept the same members. Sometimes it’s due to a need for a new creative outlet. Not a problem for Mastodon as they have numerous side-projects, including Killer Be Killed, Legend Of The Seagull Men, West End Motel, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, and Arcadea. I place the blame squarely on the band receiving Grammy nominations and now a Grammy win. The change worked as they have now been accepted and recognized by the stuffed suits of the musical world. I’m happy for Mastodon. I really am. They’ve stuck it out and found a sound that let’s them do what they love full-time. Thousands of other bands would kill for that opportunity. That being said, I just don’t really want to listen to what they’re putting out anymore.

I’m having a hard time thinking of another band that I once so thoroughly enjoyed and now have zero interest in. I loved Remission and Leviathan. Heck, I even have their Workhorse Chronicles DVD that I briefly make an appearance in during one of the live videos. Blood Mountain kind of lost me (a recent dusting off of the old iPod during a long trip confirmed my feelings), but Crack The Skye brought me back. After that, all down hill. They’re actually playing near me this summer with Primus. There was a time where I would have bought tickets right away. If anything, I have more interest seeing Primus just to check them off my band bucket list. I don’t know if it’s worth it to watch Mastodon play for an hour just to hear “Blood and Thunder”. Sure, it’s not like it would be a bad time. The put out catchy new tunes, but you always want to hear bands play the songs you love.

What does all this gut-spilling and exposition have to do with Shirt Stains? Check out this little bit of merchandise Mastodon is selling on their website:

Yes, that is an official Mastodon Emperor of Sand candle. It’s…different, I’ll give them that. Hey, if bands can sell dildos, statues, bicycles, and other nonsense, a candle isn’t that weird. Okay, maybe a little weird. Having a candle from a band you like is a good lesson in purpose and impermanence. If you never light it, you’re not using the product for its intended purpose. If you do light it, it’s gone for ever. Pretty heavy stuff over something rather innocuous. It is $25, though, so I understand not wanting to use it right away.

I appreciate the attempt at giving the candle some detail, but Skeletor looks like he just got a mouthful of Brent Hinds’s hair after a particularly sweaty set. He doesn’t want to be mean, but he definitely just puked in his mouth a little. Speaking of vomit, I wonder what the candle smells like. Lavender? Fresh cut grass? Butter pound cake? For the price they’re selling it for, it better smell like something. On second thought, I’d take nothing over a piss-scented candle. Damn, I hope I didn’t just give Mastodon inspiration for a Cold Dark Place candle.

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