Mastodon
The Hunter


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dakota West Foss USER (15 Reviews)
September 20th, 2011 | 192 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I'm not exactly sure what a Stargasm is, but I'm pretty sure I just had one.

Well, they’ve finally done it: Mastodon have created the album they were destined to make. It was bound to happen, really; they’ve always hinted at having excellent songwriting abilities behind their almost incessant need to show you they can shred. No, there’s no cysquatches or tales of retrieving Rasputin’s staff or white whales or whatever the hell prog-nonsense their last few albums have been about. Instead, you’ll find a band finally hitting their stride with memorable hooks, killer riffs, and vocals that don’t sound like a sped-up, talking Kermit the frog stuffed animal.

It seems almost ironic that Mastodon’s first non-concept album also happens to be their most cohesive offering. Blood Mountain, frankly, was too weird for its own good. Over time, it was hard to care about the ‘story’ or the riffs over the ridiculous effects of bleeps and bloops as our hero descended into madness (probably). Crack The Skye found Mastodon fully embracing their prog tendencies, but managed to be too much of a ‘good thing with little to no restraint. Plus, it was pretty ***ing weird. I’ll admit that I’m probably in the minority when I say that Leviathan never really did anything for me, so there’s that too.

The Hunter finds Mastodon integrating all of the ideas from their past efforts into a (wait for it)...tasteful package. For one, there’s far less bullshtt this time around. Right from the get go, “Black Tongue” opens the album up with some killer riff work that manages to hit the mark on being both heavy and technical, something Mastodon have faltered with in the past. No pretension, no long interludes or introductions, just heavy as balls riffage. And really, from there on out, the band fires on all cylinders, hitting marks you wouldn’t expect them to. “Blasteroids” is Mastodon doing their best Torche impression and possibly even one-upping them in the process, while ‘Creature Lives’ turns out to be the feel-good, Pink Floyd-esque tale of a creature complete with group “ahhhh’s” that everyone's always wanted. Yeah, it’s safe to say that Mastodon are still weird. The difference here is that there’s no feeling of ‘THIS IS A JOKE...but we’re kind of serious” that have plagued their past few releases. This time, it’s easy to smile and almost laugh at how awesome a song called “Bedazzled Fingernails” is because the song, well, kicks ASS (and also happens to be a personal favorite)!

It’s not all new territory, however. The title track wouldn’t be out of place on their previous album (or a reeally weird Beatles B-Side) and “All The Heavy Lifting” would certainly fit in nicely on Blood Mountain. The reason these songs work so well is because of the different context; whereas they would’ve sounded tired and repetitive on those respective albums, Mastodon manage to cram those albums’ ideas, albeit refined, into neat little packages that serve as an enhanced retrospective to their past work. Those disappointed at the lack of heavy on Crack the Skye will be delighted to hear ball-busters like "Spectrelight" that will surely become a concert staple.

It’s worth noting that the production is pretty damn perfect. The bass POPS here and it really does make all the difference in holding down the lower end. This is especially necessary considering that it feels as if the guitars are dancing around their frets more so than on past releases. The drums are killer as always, but scaled back a tad so the rhythm syncs better than on, say, Blood Mountain. All of these elements combine to create a sound that is both technical, yet restrained. We know Mastodon can shred, and now they seem to know that too. With that out of the way, the Masto-dudes have finally gotten around to writing songs without the fat and solos that aren't some sort of inside joke. The fact that Mastodon have managed to cram one hell of a hook into nearly every song with all this technicality going on is all the better.

The Hunter certainly isn’t perfect, it ends on a somewhat lackluster note with “The Sparrow” and the middle section has a notable drop in quality compared to the rest, but who wanted Mastodon to be perfect anyway? The Hunter breathes new life into a band that was getting high on their own supply for too long and we’re the ones reaping all the benefits. With a stripped down sound with more hooks than in that one episode of Spongebob, Mastodon have truly been able to integrate all of their sonic experiments into one hell of a package that should make plenty of those year-end lists. Get your beer and smoke your weed, it’s hunting season.



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user ratings (1939)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Systemunfolded (3.5)
    Blasteroid? Stargasm? I suppose next it'll be Constipllation...

    BugZoid (4)
    The sound of expansion....

    drewcordova (4)
    Brief, accessible, songs with thundering drums and crunching riffs. The Hunter is a must f...

    Will C. (4.5)
    "The Hunter" offer listeners another chance to hear a new side of Mastodon, reinvented bas...

  • tsomitso (4)
    Four albums after the magnificent “Remission” and Mastodon still manage to create some...

    Nicholas Johnson (5)
    The Hunter will some day be launched into space, and will be deemed responsible for billio...

    Jake C. Taylor (3.5)
    How exactly does a band supplant old for new, or prog for succinct? They simply don’t....

    Adam Thomas STAFF (4)
    The workhorse chronicles...

  • Eli EMERITUS (4)
    "The Hunter" is everything a great metal album should be, as Mastodon have shed their more...

    BigHans (4.5)
    Masto-pop? You bet your ass....

    Edwin Damen (4.5)
    Mastodon continue to challenge themselves, and doing so without losing any bit of consiste...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Odal
September 20th 2011


350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Comments/Suggestions/Criticisms welcome. Just a quick write up I did

EDIT: lol not even up for a minute and already got a neg

ffs
September 20th 2011


4878 Comments


Release Date: 09/26/2011

RosaParks
September 20th 2011


14912 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ffs check the front page

BigHans
September 20th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I like this review, pos.

Ulsufyring
September 20th 2011


1724 Comments


typo in the summary

zxlkho
September 20th 2011


3465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pos'd to make up for the troll negs. Reading now.

Odal
September 20th 2011


350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for pointing that out and for the positives, broski's. Let me know if there's any more errors

BigHans
September 20th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Does this sound like remission? Cause that is by far their best IMO. Crack the Skye and Blood Mountain are lol bad.

Acanthus
September 20th 2011


9543 Comments


"No, there’s no cysquatches or tales of retrieving Rasputin’s staff or white whales or whatever the hell prog-nonsense their last few albums have been about."

I take offense to this, I loved those qualities about them (especially The White Whale).

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

Odal
September 20th 2011


350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'd say it's more Leviathan with a ton of influences from their more recent stuff. If you're even remotely interested, give this a shot. It's much, much better than Blood Mountain and more tasteful than Crack the Skye

zxlkho
September 20th 2011


3465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah the album that it's most similar to is Leviathan, but it's still a little different from that.

Good review man.

Obfuscation24
September 20th 2011


3939 Comments


band sucks cock

BigHans
September 20th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

well if it doesnt have the prog crap I will jam it, actually already am. Curl of the Burl rules hard.

zxlkho
September 20th 2011


3465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Obfuscation no u

Acanthus
September 20th 2011


9543 Comments


I really have only listened to Crack The Skye and Leviathan, might give the stream another shot nothing really jumped out at me though.

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
September 20th 2011


3663 Comments


Album is amazing

BigHans
September 20th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Blasteroid kicks ass. Liking this so far.

BigHans
September 20th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Not hearing any prog yet. Which is a good thing.

zxlkho
September 20th 2011


3465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really loved their prog influence as well. It seems like this band can do no wrong.

Acanthus
September 20th 2011


9543 Comments


lol everyone: "prog! prog!"

Han's: "I hear no prog"



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