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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastodon - The Hunter
The year is 2011 and Mastodon have released their fifth full-length studio album The Hunter; an album which has the completely unenviable task of having to follow up the band's previous album Crack The Skye from 2009, which was a bold and defining moment in the band's career that deservedly won the band a wider audience and that cemented many new fanships worldwide...
Published on 26 Sept. 2011 by Kingcrimsonprog

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brick Wall of Sound
Compressed / brickwalled sound ruined it. I'm old school, raised on vinyl. CDs should sound better but they don't. Open up any track into a waveform viewer and you see a solid bar of colour. This fatigues your ears. In my case the effect was subconscious. There were new albums (like Metallica's DEATH MAGNETIC) that I didn't want to listen to more than once and I didn't...
Published 23 months ago by Jehannum

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastodon - The Hunter, 26 Sept. 2011
By 
Kingcrimsonprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
The year is 2011 and Mastodon have released their fifth full-length studio album The Hunter; an album which has the completely unenviable task of having to follow up the band's previous album Crack The Skye from 2009, which was a bold and defining moment in the band's career that deservedly won the band a wider audience and that cemented many new fanships worldwide.

When the band announced that unlike their previous three albums, the album would not be a concept album and furthermore they were using both a different producer and even a different artist to handle the album artwork, many feared that the band might be deliberately trying to distance themselves from the style we have all come to love; luckily that is not entirely the case, they only wanted to make the album fresh and original while still managing to retain much of the signature Mastodon sound.

Opening with the storming pair of pre-released track `Black Tongue' and lead single `Curl Of The Burl,' the album is magnificent from the get-go. Rather than attempt to outdo Crack The Skye in terms of progression, Mastodon have completely shifted their focus to other elements within their sound and expanded on those. The Hunter is direct and immediate, seeing more straight-forward song structures, cleaner vocals and steadier beats than any album in their esteemed career, even the guitar and bass sounds are the cleanest and least sludgey on any Mastodon record to date.

For many fans; the words `straight forward,' and `steady beats,' may seem troublesome when used in conjunction with Mastodon. Especially if like me, you got into the band for their complexity and astounding virtuoso musicianship particularly in the drumming department.

Indeed, some listeners who prefer Mastodon's Sludge influenced sound may be very surprised with tracks like `Blasteroid' or `Dry Bone Valley.' Rather than lash out immediately however, everyone should give The Hunter a fair few listens before making up their minds, after all what people need to remember is that as far back as 2004's `Naked Burn' they have been hinting at this sort of thing, now it has just become much more prominent.

Even to assuage fears, it cannot be said that The Hunter is a return to the hardest and most complex territory the band have ever explored. The songs fire ahead with force and power, but are almost all filled with big melodic choruses and driving guitar lines. Just feel safe in the knowledge that the album is not truly a grand departure either; everything still very much sounds instantly recognizable as Mastodon, even if you do have to wait longer between drum fills than on other albums.

Keyboards, structural complexity and the proggier elements found on 2009's Crack The Skye or the 2010 Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly Soundtrack EP do return on a few occasions especially on the later half of The Hunter too, such as one the wonderful brooding Title Track and `The Sparrow,' both of which have that Brent Hinds penned arpeggio feel, as well as the Josh Homme influenced `Thickening,' and the very unique `Creature Lives,' all of which helps bridge the gap between back then and now rather well.

For yet more similarities with older material, (as with all the band's studio albums barring their debut) Scott Kelly of Neurosis makes a guest vocal appearance, doing a fine job as usual this time on the up-tempo `Spectrelight.'

Ignoring musical direction, the actual performances and musicianship are utterly spectacular. The vocals (now featuring even more from Brann Dailor) from all parties involved have never ever sounded so good and their skill and talent has improved remarkably, in addition to the guitar solos which are some of the most evocative and emotive sounding leads the band have ever produced.

As performers the band have taken things to a whole other level with The Hunter; the songs are fantastic, no arguments whatsoever can be made with the production and overall The Hunter is simply a hands down good album and a real grower too. If you like Mastodon then ensure that you get yourself a copy, you will likely not regret it.

*** If you should buy the special edition with the DVD, be aware unless you pick up the correct edition, unlike the band's previous two DVD editions, there is no Making-Of documentary to be had.

The version I got from Amazon does feature a 6-minute Making-Of and 18-Minute Track-By-Track interview with Brann Dailor providing sometimes amusing and sometimes informative background information on the album's tracks, be it in lyrical meanings or playing styles.

Instead there are two music videos (for `Black Tongue,' and `Deathbound,') as well as a `Psychedelic Visualizer,' for the song 'Stargasm' that shows interesting imagery on screen along with the album (if you don't understand just look on youtube) and finally an Augmented Reality experience that works in conjunction with the band's official website and with your webcam to place the album art head on your shoulders for video and photo sessions in the web browser which also has Facebook connectivity etc. This requires a 5.6MB file download, acquired upon initial launch.

This DVD is in addition to the alternative packaging that fits in more with previous Mastodon artwork styles and in some cases two bonus tracks, `The Ruiner,' and `Deathbound' which are only acquired digitally once you have the direct-to-fan edition of album, from the band's official website or mp3 sites like iTunes store. ***
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterful, 23 Nov. 2011
By 
sean paul mccann "mccanns23" (ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
mastodon know their reputation, its a strong one, few mistakes, altered sounds, maintained brilliance, it isnt easy to please the world, they all but do it, i know their reputation also, for me, when a new album is on the way i hear myself say, album of the year. This year there was a feast of albums to hang your drool off, well on paper anyway, trivium, anthrax, opeth,machine head,metallica and lou reed, well im clearly kidding with that last choice there, arent i?
Anway, i leapt on this album the day it arrived in my paw, it flew into my cd player and i was away again, on the first few spins i wasnt sure if i loved it or needed more, on repeat spin its a classic , end of review, you wish.
This album was teased as a return to heavy, it isnt that heavy, its spacey as sin at times, i dont know much about pink floyd, there are notions and sounds and ideas thieved from their table perhaps but i love it, boy i love it.
The album is very different than crack the skye, some fans have since found fault in that album, i havent, in time the same thing may happy with this but i dont envisage that happening with me, the year isnt over but for now i will say this is my album of the year hey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hunter, 14 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
The Hunter is Mastodon's 5th studio album now and the band have rapidly changing their style the last couple of albums finishing with last albums proggy concept album Crack the Skye. The hunter doesn't so much pick up from where they left off as more sort of jumps to a whole new platform.

in essence it is Mastodon but this album feel faster and more hectic than the last album and more like Blood Mountain ( at least in crushing weight)

The Guitar tones have an intense crushing weight to them which pummels you down.
The vocals no longer growl they more melodically shout and sing.
Many of the songs have very catchy hooks to them Such as Stargasm which has numerous hooks the Guitars and downtuned and have an immense weight to them and the Chorus is a singalong (almost) chorus'your on Fire'.
The Drums are played by an octopus it sounds like which is awesome too just listen to 'Octopus has no friends' possibly one the more crazy drum songs with fills left right and centre.

In terms of overall style this album sounds much like the album Master of reality but Sped up and heavified with some added drug inducingness. The cover of the album kind of somes up the whole album, intense hectic, crazy.

Definatly worth a shot for the more adventurous people out there.
I would say get it on vinyl if you can though as there is less compression which is the one downside of this album while NOT quite compressed beyond all belief is a a bit noticeably compressed which might by why it feels so intense so it might be deliberate, However I find the vinyl edition has just a bit more space so you can enjoy though spidery leads and cymbal/hithat fills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hate Mastodon ... but I love this!, 23 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
Shorter tracks with no unfathomable jazz-timing mumbo-jumbo. Just good, honest rock'n'roll. Admittedly they sound more like Voivod these days, but that's not a bad thing. So if this is the future of Mastodon, give me more.

But if they return to their prog-metal ramblings of yore, its back to Opeth for me ... Heritage or not!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 Jan. 2012
By 
Mr. R. Powell (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
Each time I've bought a Mastodon album I've been a little unsure whether or not I like it, but having made the investment I always return just in case that first listen didn't do it justice and after a few listens I've gone from being unsure to loving it. The Hunter is no exception. Having loved Crack The Skye I guess I was expecting more of the same, surely they had finally found their sound. Silly me, Mastodon don't do more of the same, they evolve (Unlike their namesake). And that is what has happened here. Yes, this is still Progressive Heavy Metal, but they have now moved on again. The songs are more succinct, the growls have nearly completely disappeared and singing has taken their place (Whether that will be the case on stage we'll find out next month). The lyrics are still bonkers, but let's face it it's always been the music we've really loved and the musicianship here is still top notch. A couple of years ago when I first went to see Mastodon I played some of Crack The Skye in the office and couple of old wrinklies said 'They only play that loud to cover up the fact that they can't play'. I not so politely pointed out them that these guys know their way around the fret board and skins as well anybody and better than most. That's why their albums are so fascinating, each time you come back you discover more, and that's the case with all truly great albums. This one didn't get album of the year in Classic Rock and Kerrang for nothing. Hell, it might even get 2011's album of the year from me, it's either this or Opeth's Heritage. Buy it, your investment will be rewarded.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars spaced out mastodon!, 31 Oct. 2011
By 
L. Browning "slithed" (suffolk, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
So they decided to ditch the concept idea and go with what feels natural. On the very first listen i thought ok this is 7/10 but then as usual with subsequent listens it grew to a more 9/10.
Production wise it HAS lost some of the dynamics as featured in leviathan and blood mountain but i am a fan of tight production so it doesn't bother me at all. There are what, 3 episodes of shouting on the entire album? Again this doesn't bother me. The vocals are in the majority clean (for brent and troy anyway), are VERY processed but nevertheless sound awesome. Brent sounds like ozzy in some places!
It seems they've decided to cut the crap and write shorter songs without dragging anything off for the sake of it. It's their most focused, weird and spacey LP to date. Just watch Brent all baked out while he's listening to the beginning of 'creature lives' on the DVD, ooh the look of satisfaction! ;)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Promises Delivered!, 27 Sept. 2011
This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
Mastodon continue their upward trajectory drive with their latest release The Hunter. A magnificent metal record delivering on all the promise the band have shown since the beginnings but especially on the brilliant Blood Mountain and superb Crack The Skye.

This is exactly where I hoped Mastodon would be on this album. A bit selfish for sure but this to me is the fitting culmination of Mastodons fine tuning of their unique sounds.

Probably more commercial, reining in some of the progressive "Zappa"isms as i call them and honing those far out vocal melodies into an incredible mix of heavy, technical, melodic and dreamy rock/metal.

This album should be owned by every metalhead and hopefully will see Mastodon propelled evermore skywards.

Get it now!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!!, 11 July 2014
By 
Mr. M. Rutland "Matt" (Brigg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
Amazing album like everything mastodon has released give it a few listens and you will be hooked.

Creature lives is unlike any song mastodon has done but it is one of their best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More great work from this band, 23 April 2014
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This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
I like their previous albums and this one is probably more 'accessible' for people who haven't listened to this kind of genre. It's great though, definitely a grower.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic!, 31 May 2013
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This review is from: The Hunter (Audio CD)
This is a masterful album. Awesome in its scope. Fell in love with it as soon as I heard it!!!!!
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