REVIEW: Mastodon – The Hunter

Mastodon

Artist: Mastodon
Album: The Hunter
Genre: Metal
Label: Reprise

Mastodon. Undeniably one of the best metal bands of the 2000s so far. The band released a whole bunch of critically acclaimed albums in a bunch of different metal styles and never making the same album twice–truly an admirable effort for a band of such stature. Luckily for them, they’ve not had any career or style missteps that resulted in a major schism in their fanbase (though Crack The Skye easily could have been just that). This time around they’ve changed their style once again, as The Hunter isn’t really that similar to anything they’ve done yet.

Musically, The Hunter has moments extremely reminiscent of the more jazzy metal sections from Blood Mountain, but sonically it doesn’t really match up. Whereas Mastodon’s pre-Crack The Skye days the guitars had loads of crunch and sounded very aggressive, they now sound a lot less aggressive, but still retain some heavy distortion for most of the album. All of the guitar tones on the album are pretty warm and fat, absolutely fitting for the band’s newly acquired sound.

The most refreshing change for The Hunter, however, is that the band has found their way back to more riff-based metal, even if this time around they aren’t so fast-paced and aggressive. Even though they’ve lost a bit of their edge, they’ve more than made up for it in sheer heaviness. You can still find a bit of shredding on The Hunter (e.g. “The Octopus Has No Friends”), but more often than not, the riffs are thick, heavy, and backed by groovy bass lines.

All other greatness and nonsense aside, the greatest feature of The Hunter is how amazingly catchy it is. Seemingly every chorus is memorable, every song and riff distinct–something mastodon hasn’t had much of in recent years, not on a consistent basis anyway. Whether it’s the ripping riffs or grand group vocal sections of “The Creature Lives”, one thing is for certain, these songs aren’t easily forgotten.

It’s safe to say that The Hunter can be chalked up as another great step for Mastodon. They’ve once again stepped over whatever boundaries they feel like, and have ended up for the better. It’s useless to speculate what exactly Mastodon might do next, as I’m pretty sure no one really saw the band bringing their sound back to the pure, riff-based metal. At this point, whatever Mastodon wants to do is cool with me, as I’m sure it won’t be bad.

Overall score: 9/10
Review written by: Jordan Munson (Follow him on twitter)

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