The Hunter (Mastodon album)

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The Hunter
Studio album by Mastodon
Released September 27, 2011 (2011-09-27)
Recorded Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, California; Doppler Studios, Atlanta, Georgia
Genre Sludge metal, progressive metal
Length 52:54
Label Reprise, Roadrunner
Producer Mike Elizondo
Mastodon chronology
Live at the Aragon
(2011)
The Hunter
(2011)
Once More 'Round the Sun
(2014)
Alternative cover
Limited edition
Singles from The Hunter
  1. "Black Tongue"
    Released: July 25, 2011[1]
  2. "Curl of the Burl"
    Released: August 16, 2011
  3. "Dry Bone Valley"
    Released: February 13, 2012[2]

The Hunter is the fifth studio album by the American metal band Mastodon. Released through Roadrunner Records[3] on September 26, 2011 in the UK[4] and one day later in the US via Reprise Records[5] The Hunter is their first release with producer Mike Elizondo. In its first week of release in the UK, the album reached number 19 on the UK Albums Chart and position number 10 on the Billboard 200 chart selling over 39,000 copies in the first week. As of December 2011, The Hunter has sold over 75,133 copies in the United States.[6]

Recording and promotion[edit]

The album was recorded at Sound City Studios in LA with producer Mike Elizondo (whose credits include Fiona Apple, Eminem, Alanis Morissette, Avenged Sevenfold and Maroon 5).[7]

In an interview with Virtual Festivals the band said the album was the most fun to make and can't see any other metal bands going one better.[8]

In an interview with MTV Germany, it was revealed that the new album will be called The Hunter in honor of Brent Hinds's brother who unexpectedly passed away while hunting during the making of the album.[9][10] Speaking to AOL's Noisecreep, drummer Brann Dailor described the new material as not so much proggy as riff-oriented and "a little more stripped down," akin to that of Leviathan (2004) and "like a really super-heavy Led Zeppelin or something." Asked if Brent Hinds is again responsible for most of the initial songwriting", Dailor replied, "I think it's a little more collaborative, with everyone chipping in."[11]

In April 2011 Mastodon announced two of the titles from their forthcoming album: "Blasteroid", and "All the Heavy Lifting". On June 16 the band's website posted the names of three more songs; "Octopus Has No Friends", "Stargasm", and "Curl of the Burl".

On July 25, a song from the album, titled "Black Tongue" was released - via iTunes, Spotify and Ovi Music. On August 12, another song from the album, titled "Curl of the Burl" was uploaded to YouTube on the band's official YouTube page. On September 2, the song "Spectrelight" was uploaded to the band's official YouTube page. On Rockline Radio on September 26, Mastodon revealed that the song "Curl Of the Burl" was based on an episode of the hit show Intervention. It was also revealed that, while the whole album does not have a unified elemental theme, the classical Chinese element "wood" is a common motif throughout the album.[12]

Musical and lyrical overview[edit]

The Hunter is Mastodon's second non-concept album. Moreover, The Hunter marks the first time that drummer Brann Dailor composes and sings a Mastodon song in its entirety ("Creature Lives"), and takes lead vocal duties on more than two songs. Like Mastodon's previous album Crack the Skye, The Hunter features a mix of clean singing and a few songs with harsher shouting vocals. The song "Spectrelight" features Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly as a guest.

Guitarist Bill Kelliher provides lead vocals on the bonus track "Deathbound".

Packaging[edit]

The album artwork features the wooden sculpture titled Sad Demon Oath by AJ Fosik,[13] a wood carver who is also responsible for a backdrop the band uses live.[citation needed] This marks a departure from Paul Romano, who did all their artwork to date.[14]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 83/100[15]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[16]
Alternative Press 4.5/5 stars[17]
BBC Music highly favorable[18]
Blabbermouth.net 9.5/10[19]
Classic Rock 9/10 stars[citation needed]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[20]
Kerrang! 5/5 stars[citation needed]
Pitchfork Media 7.5/10[21]
Q 5/5 stars[22]
The Quietus favorable[23]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[24]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[25]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5[26]
Under The Gun Review 9/10 [27]

The Hunter has been met with universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received a score of 83, based on 29 reviews.[15] The album achieved an overall rating of 7.7/10 at AnyDecentMusic? based on 21 reviews, making it the year's highest-rated metal album among mainstream reviewers.[28]

Under The Gun Review's Jordan Munson posted one of the first reviews for The Hunter on September 7, giving it a 9 out of 10 score. In his review, Munson summarized his thoughts by stating "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."[29]

Toby Gwynne of The Quietus praised the record as a significant progression for the group: "Each of Mastodon's previous four releases exist in their own worlds, and have their own specific characteristics – the genius here is that they've managed to pull in all that made those LP's what they were and combine them to create something both familiar and unexpected."[23]

Mike Diver, writing for BBC Music, concluded: "The Hunter, with its monstrous choruses, powerful percussion and jaw-on-the-floor fret-work, is sure to connect with anyone who’s previously rocked out to the band's wares just as easily as it will absolute beginners. Don’t like metal? You might just love Mastodon."[18]

Allmusic reviewed the album giving it a score of 4 out of 5, saying "Mastodon's increasingly accessible sound may not land them a hit anytime soon, but cuts like "Black Tongue", "Curl of the Burl", and "Blasteroid", all of which arrive in sequence at the front of the set, show a willingness to write within the parameters of 21st century pop music’s dark side."[30]

The release was named the "Album of the Year" by Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Kerrang!, Rock Sound and The Times.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Mastodon. 

No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Black Tongue"   Troy Sanders 3:27
2. "Curl of the Burl"   Brann Dailor, Brent Hinds, Sanders 3:40
3. "Blasteroid"   Sanders, Hinds 2:35
4. "Stargasm"   Sanders, Hinds, Dailor 4:39
5. "Octopus Has No Friends"   Dailor, Sanders 3:48
6. "All the Heavy Lifting"   Sanders 4:31
7. "The Hunter"   Hinds, Sanders 5:17
8. "Dry Bone Valley"   Dailor, Sanders 3:59
9. "Thickening"   Hinds, Sanders 4:30
10. "Creature Lives"   Dailor 4:41
11. "Spectrelight" (feat. Scott Kelly[31]) Sanders, Scott Kelly 3:09
12. "Bedazzled Fingernails"   Sanders 3:08
13. "The Sparrow"   Mastodon 5:30
Total length:
52:54
Limited Edition bonus tracks[32]
No. Title Lead vocals Length
14. "The Ruiner"   Sanders 3:11
15. "Deathbound"   Bill Kelliher 2:48
Total length:
58:53

Personnel[edit]

Mastodon
Other
  • Mike Elizondoproduction, mixing
  • Scott Kelly – lead vocals/additional lyrics on "Spectrelight"
  • Rich Morris – synths and keyboards on "Stargasm" and "Bedazzled Fingernails"
  • Will Raines – synths and keyboards on "The Sparrow" and "The Hunter"
  • Dave Palmer – synths and keyboards on "Creature Lives"

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Canadian Albums Chart[33] 15
Hungarian Albums Chart[34] 20
Swedish Albums Chart[35] 10
UK Album Charts[36] 19
Billboard 200[37] 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mastodon Black Tongue (Single)". Spirit of Metal. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mastodon Dry Bone Valley (Single)". Spirit of Metal. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mastodon to release upcoming album 'The Hunter' on Roadrunner Records". Roadrunner Records. July 26, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Mastodon 'The Hunter' Release Date Announced". Rock Sound. July 26, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ Breihan, Tom; Fitzmaurice, Larry (July 26, 2011). "New Mastodon: 'Black Tongue'". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ "NEILSTEIN SOUNDSCAM: BUTT-ROCK STILL REIGNS SUPREME". metalsucks.net. Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Mastodon | 'Playing God' Australian video premiere". Mastodonrocks.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Rock am Ring Video: Mastodon Interview | MTV Festival-Blog". Festivals.mtv.de. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  10. ^ "Guitarist Brent Hinds Comments On Forthcoming New Album From Mastodon". Metal Undergorund. 
  11. ^ "Mastodon: First New Songtitles Revealed - Blabbermouth.net". Roadrunnerrecords.com. 2011-05-23. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  12. ^ "Interviews and music from classic rockers and cutting edge superstars!". Rockline Radio. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  13. ^ [2][dead link]
  14. ^ "Mastodon talk about new songs, new artwork : Official Sonisphere Festival UK – 2012 – Knebworth House, 6th – 8th July 2012". Uk.sonispherefestivals.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  15. ^ a b "Hunter - Mastodon". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  16. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Hunter (Clean) - Mastodon". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  17. ^ Ferris, D.X. "File Under: Heavier than metal". Altpress.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  18. ^ a b 11:51 (2011-09-14). "Music - Review of Mastodon - The Hunter". BBC. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  19. ^ Ryan Ogle. "Mastodon The Hunter (Reprise)". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  20. ^ Michael Hann (2011-09-22). "Mastodon: The Hunter – review | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  21. ^ Stosuy, Brandon (2011-09-30). "Mastodon:The Hunter - Album Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  22. ^ "Album: Mastodon - The Hunter". Q. October 2011. Retrieved October 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "Features | Track-by-track: | Mastodon - The Hunter, A Track-By-Track Guide". The Quietus. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  24. ^ "Album: Mastodon - The Hunter". Rolling Stone. 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  25. ^ "Mastodon: The Hunter - Music Review". Slant. 2011-09-23. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  26. ^ "Mastodon - The Hunter (album review)". Sputnikmusic. 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  27. ^ "REVIEW: Mastodon: 'The Hunter'". Under the Gun Review. September 7, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Reviews of The Hunter collated by AnyDecentMusic?". Retrieved 2011-10-12. 
  29. ^ "REVIEW: Mastodon – The Hunter". Under The Gun Review. 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  30. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Hunter [Clean] - Mastodon". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  31. ^ "The Hunter featuring Scott Kelly". Rock Sound. September 2, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Mastodon 'The Hunter' Tracklisting Available". Rock Sound. August 4, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2011. 
  33. ^ "CANOE - JAM! Music - SoundScan Charts". Jam.canoe.ca. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  34. ^ "MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége". mahasz.hu. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  35. ^ "Sverigetopplistan - Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Hitlistan.se. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  36. ^ "Radio 1 - Charts - The Official UK Top 40 Albums Chart". BBC. 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  37. ^ "MASTODON's 'The Hunter' Cracks U.S. Top 10". BlabberMouth.