MASTODON — The Hunter (review)

MASTODON — The Hunter album cover Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Mastodon’s Crack the Skye was milestone prog metal album, the kind of album that benchmarks are set by such was its quality. Two years later and Mastodon are back with The Hunter. Can it live up to its predecessor? Well to be honest no, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a damn fine album but in keeping such illustrious company as Crack The Skye it was always going to be a near impossible feat to achieve.

I have to admit that on first impressions I was a little disappointed with The Hunter but after a few plays it got me hooked. It’s less of a prog album than CTS; In short on the surface it may appear that they’ve took a few steps back to earlier albums. In some ways they have yet despite being a more straight to the point album – only two tracks breaks the five minute barrier, they still retain elements of CTS in terms of feel and the overall sound. It still has those psychedelic touches and of course is incredibly heavy and intense. Where The Hunter also beats anything pre-CTS is on simply great songs with strong hooks and the vocals retain the improvements made on the last album, in other words real singing. There’s some killer tracks none better than Spectrelight which captures them at their most brutal. Equally good is opener Black Tongue and for some light relief from the overall heaviness the title track with its chiming guitar arpeggios and strong melody is excellent. Hot on its heels is Dry Bone Alley, another highlight with some killer riffing yet retaining a strong hook.

Thirteen tracks then with only the occasional glitch - Curl Of The Burl and Blasteroid, two early appearances hence my initial apprehension are merely ordinary by Mastodon standards. In fact it’s in the second half that most of the best gems lie, where it’s more adventurous and they barely put a foot wrong. Any quibbles however are minor and The Hunter turns out to be another excellent album from this American metal band and sure to please most fans.
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