Mastodon The Hunter

Mastodon The Hunter
There was a key point on Mastodon's last album, Crack the Skye, where the band dropped the extreme metal/technical prog mind warpery they do so well and just rocked the house, Ozzy-style. It only lasted about eight bars, but it was proof that these guys can rock straight and hard with the best of them. They've taken those eight bars and stretched them out for a whole album with The Hunter. It's a radical departure, but after the past few albums being so conceptually heavy and musically elaborate, it's a welcome display of the guys letting their hair down and rocking hard. I mean, the riffs are still labyrinthine ("Spectrelight"), the drumming a non-stop fill ("Blasteroid") and the whole thing still further afield than the average mainstream metal band. However, the band have streamlined, locked into groove and taken their sound to a new, simpler place ― basically Bark at the Moon with extreme sensibilities and prog tendencies, with just enough hipster swagger to bring to mind Queens of the Stone Age, if they had a bit more bite. I mean, check out "Curl of the Burl" for a wildly unlikely, but incredible meeting point between all of the above styles. Only Mastodon could pull this off with such panache and make it sound so damn good. (Warner/Reprise)