The Hunter (Mastodon album)
|Studio album by|
|Released||September 27, 2011|
|Recorded||May - June 2011|
|Studio||Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, California; Doppler Studios, Atlanta, Georgia|
|Singles from The Hunter|
The Hunter is the fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Mastodon. Released through Roadrunner Records on September 26, 2011 in the UK and one day later in the US via Reprise Records 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.
Recording and promotion
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. 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."
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.
Music and lyrical themes
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
The album artwork features the wooden sculpture titled Sad Demon Oath by AJ Fosik, a wood carver who is also responsible for a backdrop the band uses live. This marks a departure from Paul Romano, who did all their artwork to date.
|BBC Music||highly favorable|
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. 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.
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."
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."
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."
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."
All tracks are written by Mastodon.
|1.||"Black Tongue"||Troy Sanders||3:27|
|2.||"Curl of the Burl"||Brann Dailor, Brent Hinds, Sanders||3:40|
|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, Hinds||3:59|
|11.||"Spectrelight" (feat. Scott Kelly)||Sanders, Scott Kelly||3:09|
|Limited Edition bonus tracks|
- Troy Sanders – lead vocals, bass guitar
- Brent Hinds – lead vocals, lead guitar, lap-steel
- Brann Dailor – drums, percussion, lead vocals
- Bill Kelliher – rhythm guitar, lead guitar on 'Black Tongue'
- 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"
|Canadian Albums Chart||15|
|Hungarian Albums Chart||20|
|Swedish Albums Chart||10|
|UK Album Charts||19|
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As a first stab in the direction of avant-garde pop-metal, The Hunter is pretty damn compelling.
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