Review Summary: "The Hunter" offer listeners another chance to hear a new side of Mastodon, reinvented based on previous albums.
When Mastodon comes to my mind, the first question I ask myself is, "How many more times will they risk losing fans at the expense of a change?" Their previous albums have for the most part, showed consistency with the bands style. But until "Crack the Skye" came along, Mastodon decided it was time to change their style to something a bit more melodic. The whole operation was a huge success; it turned out being the most musical metal I’d ever heard. Mastodon’s "The Hunter", unlike "Crack the Skye", isn’t a complete change; it takes various aspects from all previous albums and combines it into one giant masterpiece. "The Hunter" is the first album by Mastodon that isn’t a concept album, as well as doesn’t relate to a common element. It's overall, nothing that Mastodon has ever done before.
"The Hunter" is an album composed of clean and harsh vocals, superb instrumentals, and occasionally guest singers we haven’t heard in any of the previous albums. In fact, the track "Creature Lives", was composed and sung by Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor; and guest singer/guitarist performs "Spectrelight".
The tracks in "The Hunter" are all composed perfectly in that they offer a fantastic sounding accord, and they offer listeners both heavy and clean cut metal. Vocals in "The Hunter" are so superbly set up; there are very few complaints to make on the note. Instrumentals however appear to be a bit over thought of. Most tracks do it up perfectly and they always set the tone of the song well; tracks like "Curl of the Burl" and "Octopus Has No Friends". Other tracks though have instrumentals, especially guitars, placed too much in places where it really doesn’t need to be. Tracks like "All the Heavy Lifting", while composed very well, are gratuitous in instrumentals.
Gratuity is probably the only aspect of this album that keeps it from its otherwise well deserved 'Classic' rating. The overall get together concept in this album, pieces one song right after another excellently. "The Hunter excels, though it isn’t a concept album, at creating an emotional cause for feeling.”The Sparrow" is composed perfectly just for this feeling of quietness and content. "Creature Lives" is another great example of this. Other songs however, maintain Mastodon's old style of pure heaviness, mixed with Brent's clean vocals, to give you the sense of the old days. "Blasteroid" is a good example of this. Quite frankly, "Black Tongue" does this well for an example as well. "Stargasm", "The Hunter", and "Thickening" are composed of beautiful intros, and they sustain their purity throughout the entire track.
Mastodon also offer's in "The Hunter", two bonus tracks, "The Ruiner", and "Deathbound". These tracks are actually pieces of Mastodon's past, lots of heavy instrumentals, shredding guitars, and thunderous bass. The vocals are still clean however.
Brent has outdone himself to all infinity with his innovation in vocal styles. He has done Mastodon great wonders the past few years with his amazing voice. Brann has reinvented his breakneck drumming style in this album that we didn’t get so much of in "Crack the Skye". Everyone's skill is expressed beautifully in "The Hunter"; the only problem is that they employed their skill at points when it was just superfluous. Mastodon is still going strong. Though I can’t help but worry what if Mastodon can’t do it for the next album? When will this amazing reign come to an end? For now though, I must applaud Mastodon for once again, creating the masterpiece, "The Hunter".