Heavy progressive metal behemoths Mastodon return with much-anticipated fifth album ‘The Hunter’. Dedicated to guitarist and vocalist Brent Hinds’ brother who unexpectedly passed away whilst hunting last December, ‘The Hunter’ is Mastadon’s first non-concept release since debut album ‘Remission’ in 2002. Freed from the constraints of writing and composing within a specified theme, the band has gained a punchy sense of direction.
Gone are the 10 minute epic compositions of previous effort ‘Crack The Skye’, and in their place rise sharper, tighter tracks showcasing the technical skills of the band so often hailed as modern metal’s most consistently original bands.
Opener ‘Black Tongue’ features spiky riffs penetrating the solid twin bass and drum assault; merging into a simultaneously grating and complementary sound. Mastodon have always been proficiently skilled in forcing the melodic and cacophonic into becoming unlikely musical bedfellows, further enhanced by current discordant single ‘Curl Of The Burl.’ The combined vocal efforts of Hinds and bassist Troy Sanders appear for the first time fully matured, its rich tonality adding depth and strength to the wonderfully figurative lyrics so indicative of a Mastodon record.
Eponymous track ‘The Hunter’ weaves earth-shattering Led Zeppelin-style guitar solos between melodic vocals and a hypnotic bass backdrop, a slow-burner that simmers with malice before splintering into instrumental orchestration.
The frenzied introduction of ‘Bedazzled Fingernails’ and lush juxtaposing of echoing soft/heavy vocals over the beautifully textured ‘The Sparrow’ are excellent examples of the band’s dedication to perfecting their thoroughly unique brand of progressive metal somewhat derivatively branded as sludge or stoner metal by over-zealous critics.
In the two years since ‘Crack The Skye’, Mastodon has followed in the footsteps of their beloved mythical monsters, evolving into an unstoppable seismic force free from the dangers of extinction. Through ‘The Hunter’, Mastodon cement their position as contemporary metal’s ultimate craftsmen.
For more information visit the official Mastadon website.