The Hunder

1. Black Tongue
2. Curl of the Burl  
3. Blasteroid  
4. Stargasm
5. Octopus Has No Friends  
6. All the Heavy Lifting  
7. The Hunter
8. Dry Bone Valley  
9. Thickening
10. Creature Lives  
11. Spectrelight (feat. Scott Kelly)
12. Bedazzled Fingernails  
13. The Sparrow  
Limited Edition/iTunes Bonus Tracks
14. The Ruiner  
15. Deathbound  

Troy Sanders (lead vocals & bass)
Brent Hinds (lead vocals & guitars)
Brann Dailor (lead vocals, drums & percussion)
Bill Kelliher (guitars, backing vocals)

Remission (2002)
Leviathan (2004)
Blood Mountain (2006)
Crack the Skye (2009)

Scott Kelly (lead vocals on 11)

Mike Elizondo (production, mixing)

Released 26/9-2011
Reviewed 10/4-2011


Mastodon has been celebrated around the world for their music, and this album seems to be their real commersial break through as it's been top-rated more or less anywhere you turn. And this is good news of course to the Americans, who has been playing together for 12 years now and had success after success with their music but not really getting that big commersial recognition. 'Crack The Sky', released two years ago, had some chart positions on the top 50's and I really think that 'The Hunter' may have many more reaching even higher on the charts around the world. The first week since its release, this album had charted in the top 20 in three major countries and I really believe this will be triumphed as this albums gets a chance to grow on people and more people starts to hunt it down. After all, we've been presented with quite the complex work of art here.

Now, I've never been a big fan of this band before this album, but I'm pretty sure that they've changed something in their music during the last couple of albums because I feel they only get deeper and more clever on each album. The songs on 'The Hunter' are the best they've made so far as they seem better written and created than ever. The tempo and melodies are varied endlessly and the entire 53 minute long and 13 tracks big album really is a big series of complexity following eachother. The guitars can be that kick ass heavy as they were oon the earliest of this bands releases, but they also slow down and go in to these calmer and relaxed parts where they get more harmony and diversity - in just the same way as we've got used to from bands like A Perfect Circle and Cult Of Luna. This and everything else really gives the songs a long lasting life but at the same time makes them lack those immediate hit songs, something I feel pretty sure they're ready to give up in order to present songs that keeps being interesting for many moons to come. The music often tends to go back and forth in a steady pace, almost like a yo-yo, but then it bursts in to something heavy and headbanger friendly, that almost have a smell of Ozzy Osbourne in some parts. That's until we're presented with some really fine choruses in a couple of the songs, like the ones in Curl Of The Burl and Dry Bone Valley, for example.

Where I feel I'm least satisfied is in the production area. I don't like how either vocals or instruments tend to get a bit strangled in the tone, almost a bit noisy and this really doesn't helps the album to catch our immediate interest. Instead, I feel this album has to hunt us listeners down all the time, which necessarily isn't something negative but I believe the album would have benefitted from leaving us with a feeling where we actually welcome the album to come at us with its wildly striking jaws and almost helps the blood thirsty fangs to reach our throat region. It's just that there's so much sounds coming at us sometimes and all though the production sounds good overall, when we reach this heavily trafficked parts in the songs everything smears out in to one big grease which makes especially the vocal parts sound almost retarded. Like Ozzy Osbourne after he'd had an overdose, or something like that.

In many ways, I really feel that 'the Hunter' is a good album, but all those little things really bugs me. Those little things that doesn't seems to be there for any reason at all, like the strange mixing, the abrupt cross-cutting of music turning in to something and frankly the overall sound of the album. I'm not bothered from how they change the tempo or throw in these odd sound effects here and there - in fact, I think these contributes to making the album deeper and better. But the trap is ruined by the other things. However, I really feel that these traps very well can catch the same kind of fans that lately has welcomed Marillyn Manson, Slipknot, Mudwayne and System Of A Down because just like with their music Mastodon doesn't seem to have any obvious direction on their music. But at the same time the music very planned and far from left on its own without controll. And apparantly that kind of music is what the hardrockers in the mainstream like.

While I'm quite impressed by 'the Hunter' and likes the album, I'm not satisfied with what's presented to me. In the end it lands in an album that to every point is good and well made, but that I personally can't see any bigger greatness in it or an album that will be with me from this moment on in life. Good, but that's it. Nothing else. But the hunt for this album will probably go on well without me.



Label: Roadrunner Records/Warner
Three similar bands: A Perfect Circle/Tool/Creed
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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