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Mastodon - The Hunter CD (album) cover

THE HUNTER

Mastodon

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.75 | 345 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Any Colour You Like
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I killed a man because he killed my goat / I put my hands around his throat

Really? It's good to see Mastodon have a sense of humour and don't take themselves too seriously. Otherwise I'd be laughing at how bad some of these lyrics are. Sure, Mastodon's fifth studio album 'The Hunter' isn't about anything in particular, but bad lyrics aren't necessary in any domain. Apart from the decidedly mediocre stoner rock middling of 'Curl of the Burl', thankfully, the rest of the album is markedly improved.

The longest lasting image of this album, surely is the emphasis on shorter song writing, laced with psychedelic edges and bizarre imagery. I would argue that this album has a tenuous thematic link to space rock, not only in imagery but in sound. Sure, not all of the tracks here follow the same formula, but there is an overarching sound, undeniably Mastodon, but also an amalgam of influences which were formerly hidden, or less obviously used. There's a tangible Pink Floyd aura on some of the compositions, as well as other classic rock icons. The result is that Mastodon's heavier and chaotic edge is softened by phasers, delay, tremolo and other such effects. Combined with an emphasis on vocal depth, many of the compositions are layered extremely deep within the dense production. Mastodon's break-neck riffing and mercurial percussion remains, but's it's not called upon to be at the fore all the time. In this sense, 'The Hunter' is the culmination of Mastodon's previous four albums. The lack of a specific theme perhaps signifying the band's intention to experiment even further within their own history, and a slight reluctance to fall into a comfortable sentimentality.

The reliance on poppy hooks isn't as sickly as one may think. It obviously makes 'The Hunter' somewhat more accessible to casual listeners; but that doesn't stop Mastodon from mixing tracks up, just to make sure you never really settle into a one-paced groove. As mentioned, some of the lyrics are little bland, but that can be largely forgiven if you take a step back and consider the album entire. Thirteen tracks, thirteen different moods, thirteen different examples of why Mastodon is one of the pre-eminent modern compositional artists. Sure, they've crafted better individual pieces, and more cohesive 'concept' driven albums. But 'The Hunter' may be their most daring statement of intent. There's enough here to please most; a touch patchy, but there's always gold to be found in every Mastodon release.

Any Colour You Like | 4/5 |

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