Mastodon - The Hunter (Roadrunner)

Help! My head's stuck up Mastodon's arse...
Release Date: 
25 Sep 2011 - 11:30pm

Weep for joy! Mastodon is back and the bands new album, The Hunter is incredible. Renowned for their concept albums, they’ve moved away from the whole idea (boom tish!) and have just focussed on making track after track of pure musical genius. Yes, I am impressed.

The opener Black Tongue is straight into it, and you immediately know that it’s Mastodon. Shrieking with happiness, I leap from my bath-chair and chuck myself about the room before Nurse comes and gets me...

The thing about this band is their ability to constantly evolve and have a go with new things, yet they also somehow manage to retain the very thing that marks them out as Mastodon. The single Curl Of The Burl opens with chunky guitars and the line ‘I killed a man ‘cos he killed my goat’ and it's catchy as fuck. You can see why they chose this as the first release off the album.

Blasteroid goes off. Pure and simple.

Stargasm has a slow, effects driven intro and, with a quick roll around the drum kit courtesy of Brann Dailor, we’re into the punishing guitars and juicy bass. Dailor literally assaults the drums, and the entire track borders on the psychedelic but without all that hippy nonsense.

Octopus Has No Friends has a jaunty introduction and uses vocoders on the vocals (think Cher but about 17,000 times better). Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher are a lethal combination and, backed up by Troy Sanders on bass, it’s an incredible thing. The entire band work together to create fantastic (and I mean that in every sense of the word) soundscapes.

Next up is All The Heavy Lifting and the guitars weave in and out of each other. There are a lot of clean vocals on this album but I have no problem with it. The drums go mental and so do I.

The album’s title track The Hunter has a delightful picked intro and seems to drip from the speakers, oozing Mastodon stink (and it’s a wonderful stink) all over the place. I suspect that Mastodon have mastered the art of fucking with time because every track seems to whip by in a few moments.  The wailing guitar solos and haunting vocal delivery just add to the track. Incredible.

Dry Bone Valley seems kind of stoner rock but it‘s just Mastodon doing their thing; and what a thing it is. I am so impressed with the album so far, I feel like ringing up everyone and saying ‘Holy shit! Listen to this...’.

Thickening is about a minute and a half in before we get any vocals, and the band has this ability to almost go out of time but somehow they keep it together and it all makes perfect sense. I was pretty pissed that I didn’t get to see these guys live and I know they’ll go off in a live environment.

Creature Lives is all synths and laughter and electro madness, but before you get a chance to curl up in the corner, all frightened and alone, it fades to some gentle guitar which in turn leads into a chanting song. Everyone will have their lighters/mobile phones out for this one when it’s performed on stage.

Spectrelight is back to brutality, Sanders punches out the bass and everyone’s going nuts around him (me too until Nurse comes back in again...) – the speakers are begging for mercy but I say ‘No!’ and continue the assault.

Bedazzled Fingernails; have they got that vocoder on again?! These arrangements are so fucking good. I must sound like a proper fanboy but this album is so impressive.

The closing track The Sparrow is beautiful. End of. I just don’t want it to end.

Buy this album, that’s all I’m saying.