Sound — 8
01. "Black Tongue" - This was the first song released that would be on the hunter later on. It rocks right off the bat. The doomy sounding guitar and fast pace drums make this a straight up metal song that screams classic Mastodon. It features some of Troy Sanders best vocal work. He really has to push himself to hit those notes. 02. "Curl Of The Burl" - A lot of people didn't like this tune when it came out. I was hesitant at first listen. It sounded like a rock song to me. Something mastodon has explored previously. But not in this style. Although it is about crazed meth head lumberjacks so you got to love it. 03. "Blasteroid" - The song opens up with a very country western/metal lick that Brent probably made. It then kicks into surprisingly poppy melodies that lead into an extremely metal chorus with, which seems like proper "screaming". 04. "Stargasm" - This song is very spacey (pun intended). The title fits perfectly as distant layered guitars and strong drums carry the song until the verse blows up with Troy and Brent's vocal magic. 05. "The Octopus Has No Friends" - This songs title gave me such high hopes for it and Brann said the riff sounded like an octopus. I don't know were he got that from, but to me this song isn't very good. It drones on with boring melodies and doesn't really fit the mastodon structure. But the one part that caught me was the chorus riff and Troy's line "I'm on my way back home". THAT part fits the title. 06. "All The Heavy Lifting" - I guess Mastodon DID need that generic metal song. This tune has heavy guitars big drums and cheesy lyrics. I don't know how else to describe it. It's not god at all! 07. "The Hunter" - This song is definitely mellow but very emotional at the same time. Very spacey and "Crack The Skye" reminiscent. 08. "Dry Bone Valley" - Best song on the album. Hands down. It reminds me of Alice In Chains with Brann on lead vocals. The riffing is amazing. The vocal melodies give me chills. Drums and bass are so in sync. Kicka-s guitar solo as well! 09. "Thickening" - The way the intro kind of just IS the verse makes me think this song is megalodon all over again. None the less it's great. But the lyrics could be better. 10. "Creature Lives" - I don't understand this song. I don't understand why it exists. I don't understand why it sounds like a church quire. I don't understand why mastodon would do this. WHY. This is not Nine Inch Nails! 11. "Spectrelight" - METAL. 12. "Bedazzled Fingernails" - Very cool song. Coolest chorus with Troy's awesome melodies. 13. "The Sparrow" - A tipped hat to Brent's deceased relative. It really is the "Joseph Merrick" of "The Hunter" only with more emotion... And lyrics.
Lyrics — 9
Like any Mastodon album the lyrics will be about creatures, monsters, elements, clowns, Meth heads. When you're awaiting a Mastodon album. You can't pinpoint what the lyrics will be about. They could write about ice cream. They could write about dragons. This albums lyrics I think may have been more straight forward due to the fact that it's not a concept album. Never the less the lyrics don't cease to amaze. "I killed a man cause' he killed my goat". "I burned out my eyes, I cut off my tongue". "And then we switch into overdrive but you're not here". "I'm on my way back home". "Rain come down and take me with your flood". "I see the flesh before my eyes".
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I think people who doubted this album will be Surprised. Some of the songs caught me off my guard. But the classic mastodon was still there. And it rocked! I think "Dry Bone Valley" and "Bedazzled Fingernails" are some of Mastodon's best work. I think working with a hip hop producer may have hindered their vocal freedom. I notice on "Bedazzled Fingernails" the chorus sounds almost auto-tuned... Yikes.