The Hunter (Mastodon album)

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The Hunter
Mastodon-The Hunter.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 27, 2011 (2011-09-27)
RecordedMay – June 2011[1][2]
StudioSound City Studios, Van Nuys, Los Angeles
Doppler Studios, Atlanta, Georgia
GenreHeavy metal,[3][4] avant-garde metal[4]
Length52:54
LabelReprise, Roadrunner
ProducerMike Elizondo
Mastodon chronology
Live at the Aragon
(2011)
The Hunter
(2011)
Live at Brixton
(2014)
Limited Edition cover
Mastodon TheHunterDeluxe.jpg
Singles from The Hunter
  1. "Black Tongue"
    Released: July 25, 2011[5]
  2. "Curl of the Burl"
    Released: August 16, 2011
  3. "Dry Bone Valley"
    Released: February 13, 2012[6]

The Hunter is the fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Mastodon. Released through Roadrunner Records[7] on September 26, 2011, in the UK[8] and one day later in the US via Reprise Records,[9] 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.[10]

Recording and promotion[edit]

The album was recorded at Sound City Studios in Los Angeles with producer Mike Elizondo (whose credits include Fiona Apple, Eminem, Alanis Morissette, Avenged Sevenfold, and Maroon 5).[11]

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 died while hunting during the making of the album.[12][13] 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."[14]

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, "Curl of the Burl", was uploaded to YouTube on the band's official channel. On September 2, the song "Spectrelight" was uploaded to the channel.

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.[15]

Music and lyrical themes[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. It was titled "The Hunter" in honour of singer and lead guitarist Brent Hinds' brother, who died in a hunting accident while the band were making the record.

Artwork and packaging[edit]

The album artwork features the wooden sculpture titled Sad Demon Oath by AJ Fosik,[16] 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.[17]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic83/100[18]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[19]
Alternative Press4.5/5 stars[20]
BBC Musichighly favorable[3]
Blabbermouth.net9.5/10[21]
The Guardian4/5 stars[22]
Pitchfork Media7.5/10[23]
Q5/5 stars[24]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[25]
Slant Magazine4/5 stars[4]

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.[18] 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.[26]

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."[27]

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."[28]

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."[3]

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."[29]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Mastodon.

No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Black Tongue"Troy Sanders3:27
2."Curl of the Burl"Brann Dailor, Brent Hinds, Sanders3:40
3."Blasteroid"Sanders, Hinds2:35
4."Stargasm"Sanders, Hinds, Dailor4:39
5."Octopus Has No Friends"Dailor, Sanders3:48
6."All the Heavy Lifting"Sanders4:31
7."The Hunter"Hinds, Sanders5:17
8."Dry Bone Valley"Dailor, Sanders, Hinds3:59
9."Thickening"Hinds, Sanders4:30
10."Creature Lives"Dailor4:41
11."Spectrelight" (feat. Scott Kelly[30])Sanders, Scott Kelly3:09
12."Bedazzled Fingernails"Sanders3:08
13."The Sparrow"Mastodon5:30
Total length:52:54
Limited edition bonus tracks[31]
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
14."The Ruiner"Sanders3:11
15."Deathbound"Sanders, Hinds2:48
Total length:58:53

Personnel[edit]

Mastodon

Additional musicians

  • 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"

Production

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Canadian Albums Chart[32] 15
Hungarian Albums Chart[33] 20
Swedish Albums Chart[34] 10
UK Album Charts[35] 19
Billboard 200[36] 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MASTODON: Photos From The Studio Posted Online". Blabbermouth.net. May 4, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  2. ^ "MASTODON Interviewed At Germany's ROCK AM RING Festival (Video)". Blabbermouth.net. June 9, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Music - Review of Mastodon - The Hunter". BBC. September 14, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Buchanan, David. "Mastodon The Hunter". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 30, 2018. As a first stab in the direction of avant-garde pop-metal, The Hunter is pretty damn compelling.
  5. ^ "Mastodon Black Tongue (Single)". Spirit of Metal. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  6. ^ "Mastodon Dry Bone Valley (Single)". Spirit of Metal. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  7. ^ "Mastodon to release upcoming album 'The Hunter' on Roadrunner Records". Roadrunner Records. July 26, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  8. ^ "Mastodon 'The Hunter' Release Date Announced". Rock Sound. July 26, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  9. ^ Breihan, Tom; Fitzmaurice, Larry (July 26, 2011). "New Mastodon: 'Black Tongue'". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  10. ^ "NEILSTEIN SOUNDSCAM: BUTT-ROCK STILL REIGNS SUPREME". metalsucks.net. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
  11. ^ "Mastodon | 'Playing God' Australian video premiere". Mastodonrocks.com. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  12. ^ "Rock am Ring Video: Mastodon Interview | MTV Festival-Blog". Festivals.mtv.de. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  13. ^ "Guitarist Brent Hinds Comments On Forthcoming New Album From Mastodon". Metal Underground.
  14. ^ "Mastodon: First New Songtitles Revealed - Blabbermouth.net". Roadrunnerrecords.com. May 23, 2011. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  15. ^ "Interviews and music from classic rockers and cutting edge superstars!". Rockline Radio. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  16. ^ "Official Album Cover for The Hunter!". Mastodon. July 8, 2011. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  17. ^ "Mastodon talk about new songs, new artwork : Official Sonisphere Festival UK – 2012 – Knebworth House, 6th – 8th July 2012". Uk.sonispherefestivals.com. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  18. ^ a b "Hunter - Mastodon". Metacritic. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  19. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Hunter (Clean) - Mastodon". AllMusic.com. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  20. ^ Ferris, D.X. "File Under: Heavier than metal". Altpress.com. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  21. ^ Ryan Ogle. "Mastodon The Hunter (Reprise)". Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on October 16, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  22. ^ Michael Hann (September 22, 2011). "Mastodon: The Hunter – review | Music". The Guardian. London. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  23. ^ Stosuy, Brandon (September 30, 2011). "Mastodon:The Hunter - Album Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  24. ^ "Album: Mastodon - The Hunter". Q. 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  25. ^ "Album: Mastodon - The Hunter". Rolling Stone. September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  26. ^ "Reviews of The Hunter collated by AnyDecentMusic?". Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  27. ^ "REVIEW: Mastodon – The Hunter". Under The Gun Review. September 7, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  28. ^ "Features | Track-by-track: | Mastodon - The Hunter, A Track-By-Track Guide". The Quietus. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  29. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Hunter [Clean] - Mastodon". AllMusic.com. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  30. ^ "The Hunter featuring Scott Kelly". Rock Sound. September 2, 2011.
  31. ^ "Mastodon 'The Hunter' Tracklisting Available". Rock Sound. August 4, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  32. ^ "CANOE - JAM! Music - SoundScan Charts". Jam.canoe.ca. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  33. ^ "MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége". mahasz.hu. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  34. ^ "Sverigetopplistan - Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Hitlistan.se. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  35. ^ "Radio 1 - Charts - The Official UK Top 40 Albums Chart". BBC. July 13, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  36. ^ "MASTODON's 'The Hunter' Cracks U.S. Top 10". BlabberMouth. Archived from the original on December 9, 2011.