Mastodon – The Hunter (2011)

Mastodon is one of the few metal/hardcore bands I actually enjoy. To me they just seem more focused on melody than trying to shove double-bass up your ass while simultaneously screaming at your brain through your ear. Two of my roommates are huge Mastodon fans, their music constantly being played around the apartment and a hand drawn picture of the Blood Mountain cover hung next to our fireplace being evidence of that. Needless to say there was some excitement leading up to this release. I first fell in love with Mastodon via their last album Crack the Skye, an album with a combination of progressive rock, metal, and a crazy, elaborate, frankly confusing concept that only fully made sense to me after a friend summarized it in words for me. The thing that set it aside from most metal albums I hear is that on top of the impressive show of musicianship was an unbelievable amount of heart. The first time I heard the climactic ending to “The Czar” I got goosebumps. Enough bonering about my…uh…boner for Crack the Skye, though. The new Mastodon album The Hunter shakes what has become a tradition for Mastodon by not being a concept album blah, blah, blah. Who cares? I like a concept album as much as the next guy, but in the end it’s about two things: Are the songs good and is the band’s heart really in it? Yes and yes. I haven’t heard enough Mastodon to say that the band is picking from all of their previous releases and tweaking them to fit on the album, but it’s definitely a mixed bag. We hear slower, softer, more psychedelic tracks like The Hunter, The Sparrow, and Creature Lives. These 3 tracks in particular might get a few “wtf?” faces from long-time Mastodon fans, but personally they really stand out in a positive way for me. A lot of people are citing Pink Floyd influences on these tracks and I hear it a bit, but only enough to mention it once. On the flip side there are plenty of fast-paced headbangers like Spectrelight and the opening 3 tracks. Other tracks like Stargasm, All The Heavy Lifting, Dry Bone Valley, and Thickening all fall under a cozy in-between area, which is where I enjoy this album the most. This, like Crack the Skye seems to be an album that pretty much any fan of rock music could enjoy. I’m once again on board with Mastodon for The Hunter and as of right now would give this one around an 8.5 out of 10. For me there are no bad songs, but there are still a few that don’t reach the level of “great.” Here’s my favorite tracks: Stargasm, Dry Bone Valley, The Sparrow.  Enjoy this video of my favorite song! OH! And happy late birthday Low End Theory and Nevermind!

My Itunes song ratings:

Black Tongue: *****
Curl of the Burl: ****
Blasteroid: ***
Stargasm: *****
Octopus Has No Friends: ****
All The Heavy Lifting: ****
The Hunter: ****
Dry Bone Valley: *****
Thickening: *****
Creature Lives: ****
Spectrelight: ****
Bedazzled Fingernails: ****
The Sparrow: *****

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