Mastodon
The Hunter


4.0
excellent

Review

by BugZoid USER (6 Reviews)
January 16th, 2012 | 39 replies | 2,303 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The sound of expansion.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

One can’t imagine it’s easy for a band like Mastodon to constantly deliver something of equal or greater caliber with each of their releases. Fans were drawn in from the beginning with the sludging frenzy of Remission, then astounded by the conceptual Leviathan, bludgeoned by the focused and inventive Blood Mountain, and were finally thrown something of a curveball with the progressive melodies of Crack the Skye. So fans and critics alike could be led to wonder what ground the band could possibly tread upon now to keep their sound fresh, their followers intrigued, and to force the unenthused to become enthused. And, being the imaginative force that they’ve become widely hailed as, they’ve chosen to expand.

There are a few things this record is not. It is not the sound of a band selling out, becoming “radio friendly”, dulling their sound, or treading water. This is the sound of expansion. What I mean by this is simple. Think of this in terms of a simple directional pad: Down being digression, up being progression, and left and right being expansion and exploration. This record is far from a step backward. It’s clear from the opening track “Black Tongue” that the band has all but abandoned their root formula of heavy riffing, busy drum work, driving bass, and melodic shouts. Then again, this isn’t necessarily a step into new territory. The band just takes all of the routes they have previously explored and taps into the notion that they can do pretty much whatever they damn well please and make it their own.

The controversy of naysayers playing the “sell out” card toward this release have stemmed almost entirely from the second track, “Curl of the Burl”. However, the fact that the band has produced a song in which the listener can instantly sing along and bob their head is nothing along the vein of “sell out”. This song simply proves that the band is willing to toy with the idea of a song that could easily impress old fans and bring in new fans alike, which we certainly know it has accomplished the latter. “Blasteroid” gives us a short burst of the energy we’re all familiar with, leading us directly into the next sign of experimentation: “Stargasm”. Possessing an almost shoe-gaze-esque feel at first, the track quickly evolves into an entirely different beast with eerie backdrops of guitar and heartfelt vocal melodies acting almost as another instrument rather than the work of any ‘front man’. On that note, the band proves with the following tracks “Octopus Has No Friends” and “All the Heavy Lifting” that they have retained all of their taste in punishing riffs while taking a much more melodic and entrancing approach to their vocal style, utilizing three of the four members to get their stories across.

“The Hunter” can be seen almost as the album’s center piece, showing the most diversity thus far. More of a heart wrenching anthem than we’ve come to expect from this outfit, it almost completely changes the tone of the album from that point onward, giving the next couple tracks more of a medium paced feel. Once “Creature Lives” sprinkles through the speakers we’re introduced to a new face of Mastodon. After the sci-fi beeps and boops the song picks up and flows more like a nursery rhyme than anything. As if “Curl of the Burl” didn’t give us all enough of a reason to sing along, this track will have you driving down the road, neck hairs on end, fist in the air, chanting right along with Brann and rooting for this faceless creature. “Spectrelight” gets us back into a hurdling pace with riffs that could easily be classified as classic metal. The jump into “Bedazzled Fingernails” begins with an off kilter beat and a nearly haunting voice pushing the jittery atmosphere of the song forward. Once the closing track, “The Sparrow”, chimes into existence it truly feels like a closer in this new vision that has been bestowed upon us. Guitar leads resembling something more like a synth bounce around a chugging rhythm, backed by almost whispered chants. Then comes the fading end.

While other albums the band has set forth have all had a concept of some sort this album completely abandons that facade. While I do feel it affects the pace of the album a bit, making the transitions between certain tracks a bit “abrupt”, if you will, it also seems to aid the vision that I imagine the members had in mind. While Leviathan, Blood Mountain, and Crack the Skye were more like loosely based musical novels than anything else, this record seems to give each track its own life, letting all of them act as individual characters in their own personal novels rather than pawns in the greater scheme of things.

So is this album a sell out, leading to the potential demise of a modern metal heavyweight? Not in the least. This simply marks the most experimental stage we’ve been introduced to thus far. While most of it is a true empiric vision, and some of it may leave us wondering a bit, none of it is a disappointment. No one has reigns on this powerhouse of a musical force. Every move they make is based on the fact that they want to make it. And if this is a testament to what the future has the potential of holding then expect to be astounded by these fiends for a long time coming.



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user ratings (1737)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Systemunfolded (3.5)
    Blasteroid? Stargasm? I suppose next it'll be Constipllation...

    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 Kleman 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...

    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 
BugZoid
January 15th 2012



331 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I know it's been done and done and done again, but I felt I had a few interesting things to say about it. Hope everyone enjoys!

Killerhit
January 15th 2012



4455 Comments


And interesting you did. pos.

BugZoid
January 15th 2012



331 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

^ Thanks a lot man!

Yuma310
January 15th 2012



1656 Comments


inb4 some baby complains about the amount of reviews


overall pretty good. its well written so ill pos.

Phantom
January 15th 2012



8930 Comments


This album's alright, actually.

ILJ
January 15th 2012



6540 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I remember when I first listened to this before I had really listened to Mastodon and not expecting to like it.

I also remember being completely floored by how great it was.

Good review.

theashesfromautumn01
January 15th 2012



1031 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs3ergu984Y&feature=fvst
best song theyve done

BugZoid
January 15th 2012



331 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

@Yuma310 - Just out of curiosity, was there something you weren't fond of about the review?

Horsehammer
January 15th 2012



550 Comments


i love this album, not as good as Crack the Skye tho

Horsehammer
January 15th 2012



550 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs3ergu984Y&feature=fvst
best song theyve done

what on gods green earth could match up to that in terms of awesomeness

MasBarHigeuoris21
January 15th 2012



1486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Or the idiots who blindly follow converge

MasBarHigeuoris21
January 15th 2012



1486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'm not frail enough to destroy. Converge fans are far more annoying because the majority of them think that there is something wrong with you if you don't like converge and will try to put you down in if you think differently. I think that is way more annoying than A7X or ICP fans. At least their fans won't put a shotgun to your head and force you to like their respective bands

MasBarHigeuoris21
January 15th 2012



1486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Lol, maybe I should. Just bend over and take the big, green, Converge Weenie

spillingmercury
January 15th 2012



877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ wtf this argument.

lovely review. I haven't read the others, but I thought alongside the same thing regarding this album. Definitely more accessible than their previous efforts had been, but in no way meant for "radio friendliness" or whatever. It's sort of like the byproduct of their experimentation outside of a wholly conceptual nature.

spillingmercury
January 15th 2012



877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

argument was a bad choice of word.

but it was still really weird.

"i have hung out with juggalos in a forest while hitchiking across B.C. They got me drunk and baked."

It's like you unexpectedly found little forests nymphs and partied with them.

Yuma310
January 15th 2012



1656 Comments


Its a really good review. if their was one thing that I didnt like. hmm.. the only thing was I just thought the 'sell out' explination was unnecessary.

CrownOfMagnets
January 15th 2012



2190 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The guitar solo in the Hunter is one of my favorite guitar solos of all time

Horsehammer
January 16th 2012



550 Comments


the one about queer fanbases, and apparently what color of weenie each particular fanbase has :/

bloozclooz
January 16th 2012



1770 Comments


i don't understand why everyone is fapping over this album. good review either way

Tyrael
January 16th 2012



20394 Comments


Ugh Converge, take your faggotry elsewhere please

Digging: Lantlos - Melting Sun



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