Mastodon – The Hunter – Review

I may have just found the ‘Album Of The Year’ for 2011!! It comes in the form of the new and frankly PHENOMENAL Mastodon album ‘The Hunter’, Brent Hinds said of its release ‘Kids are going to get into trouble to this album. They’re going to break speakers, pop springs on their beds and get drunk and nude in public.’ Not quite… but almost! Mastodon somehow have managed up until now to make every album better than the predecessor, although I would argue that probably isn’t the case for the first time with ‘The Hunter’, it is however still a remarkably good album.

‘The Hunter’ sees Mastodon move away from the prolonged more Prog inspired songs of predecessor ‘Crack The Skye’ in favour of the shorter more smash mouth approach with the longest song topping out at a mere five and a half minutes! This doesn’t mean however that they have abandoned their Prog nature as many of the songs on the album still have the Prog influences that you expect from the band. Once again the new album showcases what can result from a collaboration between four of the most talented musicians in metal at the moment, you have the sludgy, pounding bass, all the intricate and subtle guitar fills and the smash mouth riffs and the drums provided by Brann Dailor who in my opinion is the best drummer in music around as I speak! Meaning that once again the drums on ‘The Hunter’ are exceptional.

Because for the first time the new album isn’t tied down to a concept it means the songs no longer need to follow some outlandish story and as a result the songs seem more natural and organic. Each member of the band partakes in writing duties which means the more thoughtful and reflective songs such as ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Sparrow’ are perfectly complimented by the faster and more buoyant tracks like ‘Black Tongue’, ‘Spectrelight’ and ‘Blasteroid’, you also get the quirkiness you come to expect from Mastodon in tracks like ‘The Creature Lives’ and ‘All The Heavy Lifting’ a song literally about heavy lifting! ‘The Hunter’ seems to be deliberately designed to keep the listener off balance whilst still drawing them in with the almost formulaic chaos that assaults your ears from track to track, as you change from smash mouth to groove to melodic (and everything in between) and back again.

‘The Hunter’ in effect is a culmination of all of the things the band has learnt up until now, it is a stripped back, streamlined version of their extremely impressive back catalogue compressed into 50 minutes of audio heaven! Mastodon have recorded their widest sonic variety to date on ‘The Hunter’, yet somehow despite this sound truer to themselves than ever. The fact that all four members play, sing and contribute to the writing adds to this sentiment. As Mastodon continue to evolve from album to album, they seem to keep attracting fans that wouldn’t usually enjoy metal and convince those that do, that Mastodon are among the finest bands today. In a time dominated by X-Factor and other such tripe it’s great to see bands pushing the scope and trying to do things that are different and true to themselves and as a result Mastodon may just have written yet another masterpiece.

Rating: –

10/10

Tracklisting: –

1. Black Tongue
2. Curl Of The Burl
3. Blasteroid
4. Stargasm
5. Octopus Has No Friends
6. All The Heavy Lifting
7. The Hunter
8. Dry Bone Valley
9. Thickening
10. Creature Lives
11. Spectrelight
12. Bedazzled Fingernails
13. The Sparrow

Recommended Tracks: –

The Album!!!

PDC

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