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Mastodon - The Hunter (2011)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by joe, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. joe

    joe Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    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.

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    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  2. Riff Raff

    Riff Raff List Writer Staff Member

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    Great review Joe, the only Mastodon album I find hard to get into is Remission.
    This one though met whatever expectations I had, fantastic release.
     
  3. joe

    joe Senior Member

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    Haven't got Remission Riff though I've heard a couple tracks from it. The rest of the albums are excellent for different reasons. Leviathan being my fav with Crack The Sky a close second though at times it gets bogged down. The Hunter actually exceded my expectations with the band's different course.
     
  4. sco703

    sco703 Senior Member

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    It's a great album, but honestly it hasn't had as much of a lasting effect as their older material. Anyone else noticing that?
     
  5. ComfortablyNumb

    ComfortablyNumb Unquestionable Presence

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    at first I wasnt too thrilled about this album, but it has grown on me. i really enjoy it now.
     
  6. Riff Raff

    Riff Raff List Writer Staff Member

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    Remission is the one that has grown on me now, I love every Mastodon work.
     
  7. ComfortablyNumb

    ComfortablyNumb Unquestionable Presence

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    I do as well. Remission I took to right away same with the next two after it, but Crack The Skye and The Hunter took a few listens and eventually they grew on me.
     
  8. gigispeed1332

    gigispeed1332 Senior Member

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    I love this band, for me (not being a heavy sludge fan) Remission and Leviathan were my least favourites for a while. Leviathan has grown on me and with more listens I love it. Fantastic album, probably only 2nd to Crack the Skye (phenomenal piece).

    The Hunter I really enjoy as it is a good mix of their progressive and metal sound. I think I agree with the last statement in they review stating that this might be their most accessible album. Lots of clean vocals, and catchy songs, I like it and it has grown on me too but still prefer Crack the Skye, Leviathan and maybe even Blood Mountain.
     
  9. Metal Head Mike

    Metal Head Mike Senior Member

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    Great Review Joe. I like this album. Gets better with each listen.
     

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