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Mastodon: The Hunter

Mastodon
The Hunter
(Reprise)

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Since their 2002 debut, Remission, Atlanta’s Mastodon has continuously pushed the boundaries of their stoner/sludge/progressive metal sound with great success. The Hunter continues that tradition. Although some Mastodon purists might cry foul at the shorter, simpler song arrangements that lack of an overall concept, this is a great album right out of the gate. Songs like “Curl Of The Burl” and “Dry Bone Valley” kick in with such a groove and catchiness that you’ll find yourself singing along by the second verse.

In all honesty though, I did not take to Mastodon initially. While I could appreciate their musicianship, I just couldn’t get past their vocal style. However, being the talented and evolving musicians these guys are, their vocal approach has improved drastically from one album to to the next and what makes it more interesting is their willingness to share lead vocal duties throughout the band.

For those worried about the future of the band, I seriously doubt The Hunter means the end of epic, complex songs from Mastodon. This seems like a case of the band not wanting to paint themselves into a corner by doing what’s expected. Plus, they probably just wanted to make a record for once that they can rock out to without a flurry of notes to bog them down. There might not be as much to it as previous efforts, but Mastodon’s The Hunter is easily one of the best albums of the year. To quote the closing track, “The Sparrow”: Pursue happiness with diligence.” Mastodon fans and lovers of solid, heavy music should look no further than The Hunter for happiness.

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