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Mastodon, The Hunter
Reprise Records, Sept. 26

10/20/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Mastodon have had more than a decade now to settle into their skin, lounging perched atop all that is modern metal, a status earned by evolving into a fuzzily focused cross between Metallica and My Morning Jacket. In their fifth LP, singer Eric Saner continues walking fine lines: “Blasteroid” finds him offering some uniquely rendered black-metal screeching, followed later by some pretty groovy Linkin Park-ish throat-drone on “Octopus Has No Friends.” “Stargasm”’s mid-career Ozzy bummer-ness is a drag to listen to, but that’s where they’re at nowadays, grudgingly aware that there are a few chicks in the crowd, so there’s lots of that weird new post-Alice n Chains metal-lovey-dovey-ness — it’s like watching mountain trolls try ballet, you know? — two examples being the wimp-out closer “The Sparrow” and the title track, both of which end on cool-enough solos, you gotta give ’em that. Matter of fact, Brent Hinds’ lead guitar work is more Sabbath-y than anything you’ve heard from him before, which could bring us to arguing about the usefulness of classic hard rock — which this undeniably is — in a Bonnaroo world. A —Eric W. Saeger






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