MASTODON’s The Hunter was released yesterday and the album has been getting some rave reviews! The band have released various video updates, the most recent of which can be found at THIS LOCATION. If you haven’t bought your copy yet, check out the reviews below – we can’t promise that you won’t be swayed! And if you fancy getting your hands on a copy of the album, CLICK HERE to see what we have in store for you at the Play.com take over.
With a year of emotional loss, endless touring and now a new album, ‘The Hunter’ is a stellar effort with a little for every type of Mastodon fan. The album opens with a barrage of drums and howling guitars on ‘Black Tongue’. It’s Mastodon – it’s loud, it’s heavy and it rolls through your ears like a bullet train through a station.
Mastodon’s fifth album is as near to punchy and concise as they’re ever likely to come. Gone are the 13-minute multipart epics – the longest track here is just five and a half – yet there’s a depth and darkness about The Hunter: not the darkness that drives Norwegian metallers to burn down churches, but the darkness of space.
In a further break with tradition, the band, who previously worked with rock stalwarts Brendan O’Brien and Matt Bayles, opted to have Mike Elizondo, whose credits include Eminem and 50 Cent, helm The Hunter – and the results are magnificent. All of the group’s mind-melting riffs and rhythms are intact, and if anything, they’re magnified, glorified, made somehow more ginormous. It’s Mastodon made digestible for the whole world…and the world just might be the better for it.
There’s no doubt about it – The Hunter is one of the albums of 2011, and further cements Mastodon’s position as not only a band capable of pushing ever progressive notions of songwriting and musicianship onto their audience, but simultaneously connect with larger and larger more popularist audiences at that. Mastodon are the polar opposite to – nay, they are the antidote to – all the lowest-common denominator metal bands that people hold up as proof that if you want to make it big, then you also have to make it stupid. The Hunterrepresents all that is best about metal, not just as far as 2011 is concerned, but for the entire genre full-stop.
On ‘Creature Lives’, after a Pink Floyd intro of oscillating synths, it’s a justifiably epic, slow-burning, fist-in-the-air stadium rock moment. Album closer ‘the Sparrow’ is melancholic and other-worldly, with its ethereal vocals repeating, over and over. And this from a band that used to write tunes called ‘Mother Puncher’. The Hunter is a pitch for the mainstream – but it doesn’t compromise on Mastodon’s core ambition. They are still the most talented, surprising and impressive band making intelligent hard rock today. Now is their time.
Although The Hunter is actually a little longer than Crack the Skye, it’s much leaner – the towering riffs of All the Heavy Lifting cut through cleanly, and the stoner-rock crunch of Curl of the Burl is mightily satisfying. At times the themes seem lifted straight from the swords and sorcery of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings; but one look at Mastodon surely makes it clear that these are not men of our time. They stand aside from fashion and the folly of passing trends, making music that appeals to their own scattershot minds. And they make it superbly loudly.
Yet, for all of its convention-eschewing oddness, their envelope-pushing material has struck a chord with many a listener. And The Hunter, with its monstrous choruses, powerful percussion and jaw-on-the-floor fret-work, is sure to connect with anyone who’s previously rocked out to their wares just as easily as it will absolute beginners. Don’t like metal? You might just love Mastodon.