Mastodon
The Hunter


4.5
superb

Review

by BigHans USER (108 Reviews)
September 21st, 2011 | 641 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Masto-pop? You bet your ass.

Consistently thriving on innovation and never making the same album twice, Mastodon has traced a musical lineage akin to the process of evolution. The first exercise (Remission) was primal brutality, the soundtrack to cavemen hunting mammoths with only a knife in their teeth and manically crazed looks in their eyes. From this inception Mastodon matured as they evolved, with additional layers of experimentation and concepts building upon each other, offsetting the emergence of complex patterns with rare repetition. In their growth, Mastodon has built a grand fortress of metal held aloft by four distinct yet nearly equally strong pillars. If their discography is indeed the construction of this conceptual pantheon, “The Hunter” is the unannounced meteorite blasting from the sky, metaphorically leveling this body of work in complete devastation and brilliantly merging its elements together in the rebuilding process.

Like the Colossus of Rhodes coming to life, “The Hunter” is a fully evolved creature, representing the inevitable beauty of any archetype that overcomes the devastation of itself or its very ideals. The process of this evolution requires the previous elements of strength remain through the growth structure, and in the case of Mastodon their greatest weapon has always been musicianship. Mastodon remain fully armed with their greatest weapons, the guitars are still on fire and the drumming is still absolutely cataclysmic, but “The Hunter” finds them mastering the concept of songwriting, an elusive beast that has previously escaped them. Merging advanced songwriting skills with overpowering musicianship is rarified air in music, and is even more pronounced in metal. The final evolutionary step for any group that purports to greatness is merging these two elements in an explosively engaging package. Even the greats can only grasp it for a short period of time, and now that Mastodon has fully emerged we might as well embrace it as its fragility is tangible and proven.

If there is a definable pillar or structure to “The Hunter,” its probably schizophrenic chaos as there is absolutely no distinct formula on display here. Weaving elements of entirely divergent influences are pieced together only by the engagement of sky-high atmospherics and massive, memorable choruses. “The Hunter” seems intrinsically designed to keep the listener off-balance and draw them in simultaneously. The roaring power of “Spectrelight” and “Blasteroid” are in direct opposition to the gentle, almost Pink Floyd esque “Creature Lives” and the gorgeously dreary title track. The doomsday laced “Black Tongue” and powerful Sabbath/Kyuss hybrid “Curl of the Burl” at first seem entirely out of place with the ethereal trio of “Stargasm,” “Octopus Has No Friends,” and “All The Heavy Lifting,” a combination fitting for the blastoff, atmospheric emergence, and gravity-free space gliding odyssey of a space shuttle. This trio is the logical epicenter of "The Hunter," it's where the most obvious new ground has been broken and where Mastodon's newfound sense of melody is the most trenchant. Throughout most of "The Hunter" Mastodon is hitting on revolving cylinders of experimentation, escaping filler, and proving the result is more important than the method, embracing focus disguised as chaos.

“The Hunter” is not pop in the traditional sense, but for the aggressively tattooed, proudly bearded, horse-worshipping, whale-destroying dudes of Mastodon, it’s probably as close as they’re ever going to get. Entirely devoid of structure, any grandiose over-reaching metaphorical concept, or the dangerous delvings of pretentiousness we saw on “Crack the Skye,” “The Hunter” is held aloft by the quintessential pillars of engaging, riveting atmospherics. Brilliantly melding catchiness with the credibility automatically earned through their almost peerless chops, Mastodon has finally reached the apex of their abilities. It’s clear through the sheer diversity of their catalog they were searching for the grail, and this time they finally found it. The metaphorical archetype of Mastodon has always been a Behemoth, the creature or concept that is difficult to find and almost impossible to battle. Right from the beginning, they asked where it strode. The answer is right Goddamn here.



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user ratings (1938)
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...

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

    Dakota West Foss (4)
    I'm not exactly sure what a Stargasm is, but I'm pretty sure I just had one....


Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
September 21st 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Had to do it, album rapes hard.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2011


21965 Comments


I'm gonna have to write a review at this rate

BigHans
September 21st 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I cant see how you can give this a 2 Anarachist.

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
September 21st 2011


3663 Comments


Summary is EPIC WIN!!!

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2011


21965 Comments


it's just so boring eurgh

wabbit
September 21st 2011


7000 Comments


this sounds like their only album I would dig.


good review/ want a promotion much?

BigHans
September 21st 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

lol Rabbit, didnt even think of that, Ive never even applied. I thought I had to do this album justice, its fucking awesome.

Nagrarok
September 21st 2011


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never been able to get into Mastodon.

BigHans
September 21st 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

give this one a shot Nag, its by far the most accessible album theyve put out.

Nagrarok
September 21st 2011


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well I guess it be added to my growing list of to-listen 2011 albums.

HenchmanOfSanta
September 21st 2011


1866 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is weird in that it definitely has it's own sound among their discography, but most of the songs (at least the heavier tracks) feel like Mastodon-by-numbers. Which is great compared to a lot of bands, but makes it easily their worst album.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2011


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

^^^^^

BigHans
September 21st 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

When I first heard this yesterday I thought only Remission was better. After repeated listenings Im deciding this is their best.

Acanthus
September 21st 2011


9543 Comments


Pos'd, there's so many great comparisons and metaphors here.

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

BigHans
September 21st 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Acanthus, didnt even do it on purpose, Ive been obsessed with the concept of evolution lately and have been playing alot of Civilation 5, which is where the mythological stuff probably came from.

Acanthus
September 21st 2011


9543 Comments


It worked great here imo, even though the albums not for me it was an interesting read.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2011


20676 Comments


Great review Hans. Haven't heard this yet.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

KILL
September 21st 2011


71795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

boring

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

BloodSweatandBeers
September 21st 2011


1007 Comments


this album isnt that good

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2011


21965 Comments


"this album isnt that good"
YES



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