Monday, September 19, 2011

Mastodon - 2011 The Hunter

Band : Mastodon
Album : The Hunter
Release Year : 2011
Genre : Progressive | Metal | Sludge

Tracklist :
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
12 Bedazzled Fingernails
13 The Sparrow

Mastodon have never gone the safe route. Herman Melville's Moby Dick, human-eating tree people, Rasputin, Stephen Hawking, wormholes - topics that aren't exactly the stuff of metalhead dreams, but they've all informed the band's ambitious string of concept albums. And so it comes as a bit of a surprise, on the band's fifth studio release, The Hunter, that the Atlanta-based quartet tackle the concept of...nothing. Or, in other words, anything and everything - wherever their fertile, mind-expanded little minds want to roam. Which, as it turns out, is pretty damn far, indeed, as one listen to the new LP bears out.

While adopting a blissful, scattershot thematic approach, the group - bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds, guitarist Bill Kelliher and drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor - have sharpened their instrumental attack, one which still manages to straddle the line between hardcore, blitzing metal and progressive rock but now does so, in many cases, within the confines of three minute-songs. Three minutes? Wow, that's pop-tune length! How can any band switch things up so dramatically in such time? Mastodon can, and they do so effortlessly, seamlessly... They play it as it lays, and it's not a sacrifice, it's where the day takes them.

In a further break with tradition, the band, who previously worked with rock stalwarts Brendan O'Brien and Matt Bayles, opted to have Mike Elizondo, whose credits include Eminem and 50 Cent, helm The Hunter - and the results are magnificent. All of the group's mind-melting riffs and rhythms are intact, and if anything, they're magnified, glorified, made somehow more ginormous. It's Mastodon made digestible for the whole world...and the world just might be the better for it. -Joe Bosso

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