MASTODON — The Hunter (review)

MASTODON — The Hunter album cover Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
"The Hunter" is the 5th full-length studio album by US metal/sludge metal act Mastodon. The album was released in September 2011 by Reprise Records. There´s a deluxe version available which features two bonus tracks titled "The Ruiner" and "Deathbound". The deluxe edition features a different cover artwork from the "regular" version.

After increasingly putting more and more progressive elements into their basic sludge metal sound, culminating in the very progressive "Crack the Skye (2009)", Mastodon have chosen to go in a different direction on "The Hunter". Listening to the album it´s obvious that Mastodon have gone for a much more stripped down and accessible sound. The tracks are for the most part vers/chorus structured and all tracks are between 2 and 5 minutes long. I hear a choir screaming "Sellout", but I assure you that´s not the case. While the 13 tracks on the 53:01 minutes long album may not be structurally challenging, there is a lot of depth in the songwriting. Add to that a powerful warm sound production, strong musicianship, better and cleaner vocals than ever (there´s still a way to go in that department, but the vocals are generally great) and you have a beast of a Mastodon album.

The music is heavy, the almost psychadelic nature of some of the tracks works well, the riffs and the vocal melodies are memorable after only a few listens and while the more stripped down songwriting approach doesn´t always work for other artists, the ever progressing Mastodon masters this more simple musical form in great style too. The change is bold, it´s daring and it´s quite frankly brilliant. While the more stripped down and less progressive form might suggest a "back to the roots" kind of album, that´s not the case. While "The Hunter" sounds unmistakably like Mastodon, the album is different from anything the band have made before. They are simply not content with making the same album twice. So while the music might not be progressive anymore, Mastodon have still progressed their sound. Take a listen to tracks like "Curl of the Burl" or "Creature Lives" for proof of that. Those tracks sound like nothing Mastodon have ever done before. They took some getting used to but both are among the highlights on the album along with the stunning title track and album opener "Black Tongue"

I´m sure "The Hunter" will prove to be a fanbase divider, but I guess you could to a lesser extent say the same thing about "Crack the Skye", so the guys are probably used to the mixed reactions by now. While some fans might turn their backs on the band because of the accessible nature of "The Hunter", I´m sure the album will earn them more fans than they lose. I smell a bigger commercial breakthrough might come with this release. A 4 - 4.5 star rating is well deserved.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Dirt Alternative Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Labyrinth Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sic Mundus Creatus Est Deathcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Slow Burn Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Lazarvs Sludge Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online