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Mastodon - The Hunter CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.70 | 394 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
3 stars My opinion of Mastodon have really shifted back and forth over the years; Initial encounter occurred at the 2007 Metaltown Festival in Gothenburg where the band's time slot was squeezed somewhere between Machine Head and Meshuggah, thus not making too much of an impact on me at the time. I'm sure that the fact that Mastodon were doing a supporting tour for Blood Mountain didn't exactly help their cause since I still consider it to be their weakest release to date.

Two years passed and suddenly things were completely turned upside down with the release of Crack The Skye! I'm really not sure what these guys were on when they wrote the concept for that album, but who cares when the final results are this great? Crack The Skye sounded almost nothing like the band's previous offerings and the fact that the album featured two pretty awesome 10+ minute pieces made me completely forget that bleak initial encounter with the band in 2007.

Since 2009, Mastodon have clearly been confused in terms of setting their next big goal, something that often happens with bands that suddenly get some attention from a broader audience. The release of Jonah Hex EP was a interesting but ultimately unsuccessful attempt of scoring a film that would go on to be one of the year's biggest box office bombs. Of course, it would be pointless to even suggest any connections between Mastodon's score and the film's failure, I'm simply implying that this score was pretty dull. The release of Live At The Aragon was a nice treat for the fans, where the band performed their entire fourth album, but I can't help to recall the lessons from the past when record labels tried their best at squeezing every single dollar out of a successful franchise.

These two minor side projects did some damage to the rising reputation of Mastodon, but all of it could have been potentially swiped clean with the release of the band's fifth studio album. Of course even that was turning for the worth when I initially saw the Adult Swim video for the song Deathbound and assumed that it was the first single of the upcoming new Mastodon release!

The two singles that were released leading up to The Hunter were far apart in terms in quality and gave me a very mixed expectations. Black Tongue was a solid but rather standard Mastodon composition while Curl Of The Burl was easily one of the worst compositions that they've recorded so far. Luckily, the album wasn't as bad as these individual moments, but since I prefer to judge releases as a sum of its parts the final results are rather mixed. Yes, there are a few pretty good songs here but there are also many that aren't worth your time. The fact that Mastodon constantly shifts between different styles of their repertoire and decided to do a set of pretty short 13 songs instead of a few much lengthier pieces looks to me like an attempt at pleasing the wide spectrum of their audience instead of sticking to their guns. The final results are good but not good enough to be considered a successful followup to the colorful Crack The Skye.

***** star songs: Stargasm (4:40) All The Heavy Lifting (4:31) The Sparrow (5:32)

**** star songs: Black Tongue (3:26) Blasteroid (2:35) The Hunter (5:18) Dry Bone Valley (4:00) Creature Lives (4:41) Spectrelight (3:10) Bedazzled Fingernails (3:08)

*** star songs: Octopus Has No Friends (3:49) Thickening (4:31)

** star songs: Curl Of The Burl (3:40)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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