Developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, heavy metal, a genre of rock music was declared dead and buried since in each and every decade. Formed in 1999, in Atlanta, Georgia, Mastodon with roots back in blues rock and psychedelic rock, with raw sludge riffs and powerful post-grunge flavors, delivering complex, multi-layered songs, but also memorable and cutting riffs, merging progressive elements with pure rock energy, prove once again that the heavy metal in its purest essence remains strong and fresh, capable of reinventing itself. Mastodon managed to sound classy and traditional being modern and creative, looking further.
Moved to Atlanta from Victor, New York, drummer Brann Dailor and guitarist Bill Kelliher teamed up with bassist/singer Troy Sanders and guitarist/singer Brent Hinds and formed the band in late 1999. They recorded their first demo in 2000, which featured the band’s first lead singer, Eric Saner on vocals, but he left the band for personal reasons after just a couple of months and Troy Sanders take over most of the vocal duties.
As a curiosity, on each of Mastodon’s first three full-length albums the last track relates to the “Elephant Man.”
“The Hunter” is Mastodon’s second non-concept album, the first being their debut album, “Remission” back in 2002. Their second full-length album, “Leviathan”, was released in 2004 and the story is based on Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick”. The band received critical acclaim for “Leviathan” and it was named album of the year by Kerrang! and Terrorizer magazines. “Blood and Thunder” was chosen as one of the most important recordings of the decade by National Public Radio in November 2009, and that the entire album epitomizes ” a phenomenal decade for metal”.”Leviathan” also ranked second in the list by Metal Hammer of the best albums of 2004.
Their third studio album, “Blood Mountain” was released in 2006 and band’s first single off Blood Mountain, “Capillarian Crest” was ranked number 27 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 100 Songs of 2006 while the album itself was ranked 9th in the magazine’s best albums of the year chart. The UK’s Metal Hammer voted it the best album of 2006 in its end of year critic’s poll. The album was voted in at #5 by Kerrang! in their end of year list. Also number 6 on PopMatters’ Best Albums of 2006 and number 1 on The Best Metal Albums of 2006. About.com rated it the top metal album of 2006.”Blood Mountain” was also named best album of 2006 in the 10th anniversary birthday edition of Bizarre. It also came in at #2 on Revolver magazine’s list of the top albums of 2006. The band was named Artist Of The Month for March 2007 at Gametap.com.
“Crack the Skye”, the fourth studio album was released in 2009 and it features seven tracks and runs at 50 minutes and 6 seconds. The album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200, and it had sold 200,000 copies in the US as of September 2010, making it one of their highest selling albums to date. The album represents the element of aether, which is represented by the souls and spirits of all things, a theme closely related to the context of the album. Because the elements of fire, water and earth have already represented by the band’s first three albums “Remission”, “Leviathan” and “Blood Mountain”, respectively, the element of air is the only classical element which has yet to be represented by a Mastodon album.
Scheduled for release through Roadrunner Records on September 26, 2011 in the UK and on 27 in the US via Reprise Records, “The Hunter” is the fifth studio album by Mastodon and probably one of their most expected release up to date.
01. “Black Tongue” 3:27
02. “Curl of the Burl” 3:40
03. “Blasteroid” 2:35
04. “Stargasm” 4:39
05. “Octopus Has No Friends” 3:48
06. “All the Heavy Lifting” 4:31
07. “The Hunter” 5:17
08. “Dry Bone Valley” 3:59
09. “Thickening” 4:30
10. “Creature Lives” 4:41
11. “Spectrelight” (feat. Scott Kelly) 3:09
12. “Bedazzled Fingernails” 3:08
13. “The Sparrow” 5:30
Total length: 53:01
The album was recorded at Doppler Studios in Atlanta with producer Mike Elizondo whose credits include mainly none heavy metal artist such as Fiona Apple, 50 Cent, Alanis Morissette and Maroon 5, but worked previously also with Avenged Sevenfold.
It is also their first album not related with a classical element and marks the first time that drummer Brann Dailor composes and sings a Mastodon song in its entirety – “Creature Lives” – , and takes vocal duties on more than two songs. Also, the song “Spectrelight” features Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly as a guest.
Mastodon managed to combine classic heavy metal elements and sounds with raw power and freshness, modern sounds and psychedelic and progressive sounds and structures with strong and cutting sludge riffs, while featuring also a mixture of clean vocals and harsh screams. The juggling between the past and present push Mastodon further into the future and combining all the tasty and traditional heavy metal elements with modern sounds and approaches, surprisingly help the band to avoid cliches and patterns.
“The Hunter” is power and colorful simultaneously, traditional and classic, but strong, breathing and modern.
The burial of the heavy metal once again had to be canceled.