The Hunter - Mastodon 2011 - Reprise(Canada) CD Genres: progressive metal, sludge metal, heavy psych, stoner metal - Brent Hinds / guitars, vocals - Troy Sanders / bass, vocals - Bill Kelliher / guitars, vocals - Brann Dailor / drums, vocals 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 Mastodon marched onto the soundscape from Atlanta, Georgia in 2002, immediately taking charge in that thier three of thier first four albums being of a (somewhat) conceptual theme based on the natural elements of water (Leviathan), earth (Blood Mountain) and aether (Crack The Sky). The band's first album, Remission (2002) did make somewhat of rumbling with it's bludgeoning southern stoner/sludge metal with a slight slant of prog and a jagged jazz foundation but it was two years later that Mastodon breached the waves with Leviathan in 2004 based on Moby Dick, an inspiring abhorrence of immence ambient depth, bone crushing brutallity with fathoms of complex, dark progressive layers arrising from the abyss. A beast of intelligent powers. A mighty tale, a progressive sludge epic with wave wrecking riffs and anchored with aggression and annihilation. The follow up album, Blood Mountain, again a conceptual piece is the incoherent imagery of being stranded, lost, destitute, delusional and frightened all the while being hunted from strange creatures in the forest where once a bloody battle was wagged between the Creek and the Cherokee nations at Slaughter Gap (how appropriate). The album ascends (and descends with darkness) and progresses more technical and experimental innovation than it's predecessor culminating heavy psych into the sonicscape while still attacking with tactical, ravishing and devasting results especially from "The Wolf Is Loose", "The Crystal Skull" and "The Sleeping Giant". Maniacal, menacing and magestic. Terrifying. Crack The Sky, the band's fourth studio release and is representive of the element aether; the soul and spirit of all things and is complex story of the astral travels of a parapelgic, wormholes, Rasputin and Tsarist Russia. Expansive and technically dimensional with pounding progressive metal, heavy hammering and axe reaping riffs. The sound of sludge is slightened though the band still violently flattens and crushes with melody and harmony. A colossal stature both in progressiveness and heavy psychedelia. Total tyranny. The Hunter (2011) finds Mastodon not forestalled by (an under statement) by the bounds of a concept oriented album thus the band is able to extricate with the freedom of force, inimical powers, experimentation and extensions. Though the tracks are shorter, designed for the discharge of rapid sucession this doesn't impede thier pursuit and priority of the purpose to punish, striking swiftly with hook and heaviness, brute and nastiness. With the shorter songs somehow the band seems to have evolved, not bound from the limits of time but due to the vast improvement of both of the lead vocalists, Troy Sanders and Brent Hinds as they dual vocally, be it with inter-exchanges, lead and in harmony is immence as this also is a result of a less distorted, tangled atmosphere that was noticable on the Crack The Skye and the production of a new producer. Drummer Brann Dailor contributes more vocally here than other album but his beastly beat, gigantic chaotic stomp and boom on the drums is restrained resulting in a tighter tempered structure. Lyrically, The Hunter is probably stronger, actually maybe more twisted, quirky and diverse with images of impossibilities; grotesque, extraordinary and fantastical. A nightmare. Musically, Mastodon's biggest weapon, The Hunter captures all that Mastodon magnifies: progressive metal, sludge/stoner metal and heavy psych/space rock; an amassment and representation of all four previous albums though it does somewhat backtrack to more of a sludge metal than the progressive metal meanderings of Crack The Skye as it more a rolling thunder of riffs much like Leviathan. A few tracks, "Curl Of The Burl", "Dry Bone Valley" and "Thickening" maybe migrating to the mainstream which leaves wondering where Mastodon will rumble into this decade as other metal dinosaurs of the past (Metallica, one example, maybe Maiden?) have wandered into this valley of extinction. Highlights are the blistering "Black Tongue". "Spectrelight", a massive slab of bone, Leviathan-esque and features Scott Kelly from Neurosis. "Stargasm", a melancholic, heavy psych/space that travels with a teutonic twist as does "Blasteroid", a metal meteor meant for mayhem. The atmospherically beautiful brooding of "The Sparrow", splendid experimental ambiences, especially vocally. The one deformity that stands out is "Creature Lives", a zombie wandering aimlessly. The Hunter is probably the band's most accessible album to date and is recommended to those who haven't heard Mastodon. With that being said, it shouldn't detract loyal listeners as well. This band is a beast that bellows brutallity and brilliantly balances with the beckon beauty. Mastodon is a modern metal monster.