Mastodon - The Hunter
The Hunter
Album info
ReleaseSeptember 27, 2011
RecordedSound City Studios in Van Nuys, California and Doppler Studios in Atlanta, Georgia
GenreProgressive metal, stoner metal
LabelReprise, Roadrunner
ProducerMike Elizondo

The Hunter is the fifth studio album by the American metal band Mastodon. Released through Roadrunner Records[1] on September 26, 2011 in the UK[2] and one day later in the US via Reprise Records[3] The Hunter is their first release with producer Mike Elizondo. In its first week of release in the UK, the album reached number 19 on the UK Albums Chart and position number 10 on the Billboard 200 chart.[4] As of 2012, The Hunter has sold over 75,133 copies in the United States.[5]

Recording and promotionEdit

The album was recorded at Sound City Studios in LA with producer Mike Elizondo (whose credits include Fiona Apple, Eminem, Alanis Morissette, Avenged Sevenfold and Maroon 5).[6]

In an interview with Virtual Festivals the band said the album was the most fun to make and can't see any other metal bands going one better.[7]

In an interview with MTV Germany, it was revealed that the new album will be called The Hunter in honor of Brent Hinds's brother who unexpectedly passed away while hunting during the making of the album.[8][9] Speaking to AOL's Noisecreep, drummer Brann Dailor described the new material as not so much proggy as riff-oriented and "a little more stripped down," akin to that of Leviathan (2004) and "like a really super-heavy Led Zeppelin or something." Asked if Brent Hinds is again responsible for most of the initial songwriting", Dailor replied, "I think it's a little more collaborative, with everyone chipping in."[10]

In April 2011 Mastodon announced two of the titles from their forthcoming album: "Blasteroid", and "All the Heavy Lifting". On June 16 the band's website posted the names of three more songs; "Octopus Has No Friends", "Stargasm", and "Curl of the Burl".

On July 25, a song from the album, titled "Black Tongue" was released - via iTunes, Spotify and Ovi Music. On August 12, another song from the album, titled "Curl of the Burl" was uploaded to YouTube on the band's official YouTube page. On September 2, the song "Spectrelight" was uploaded to the band's official YouTube page. On Rockline Radio on September 26, Mastodon revealed that the song "Curl Of the Burl" was based on an episode of the hit show Intervention. It was also revealed that, while the whole album does not have a unified elemental theme, the classical Chinese element "wood" is a common motif throughout the album.[11]

Musical and lyrical overviewEdit

The Hunter is Mastodon's second non-concept album. Moreover, The Hunter marks the first time that drummer Brann Dailor composes and sings a Mastodon song in its entirety ("Creature Lives"), and takes lead vocal duties on more than two songs. Like Mastodon's previous album Crack the Skye, The Hunter features a mix of clean singing and a few songs with harsher shouting vocals. The song "Spectrelight" features Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly as a guest.

Guitarist Bill Kelliher provides lead vocals on the bonus track "Deathbound", making it the first Mastodon song he sings on.

Album artworkEdit

The artwork features the wooden sculpture titled 'Sad Demon Oath'[12] made by AJ Fosik, a wood carver who is also responsible for the backdrop the band uses live. This marks a departure from Paul Romano, who did all their artwork to date.[13]


The Hunter has been met with highly positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received a score of 83, based on 29 reviews.[14] The album achieved an overall rating of 7.7/10 at AnyDecentMusic? based on 21 reviews, making it the year's highest-rated metal album among mainstream reviewers.[15]

Under The Gun Review's Jordan Munson posted one of the first reviews for The Hunter on September 7, giving it a 9 out of 10 score. In his review, Munson summarized his thoughts by stating "It’s safe to say that The Hunter can be chalked up as another great step for Mastodon. They’ve once again stepped over whatever boundaries they feel like, and have ended up for the better."[16]

Toby Gwynne of The Quietus praised the record as a significant progression for the group: "Each of Mastodon's previous four releases exist in their own worlds, and have their own specific characteristics – the genius here is that they've managed to pull in all that made those LP's what they were and combine them to create something both familiar and unexpected."[17]

Mike Diver, writing for BBC Music, concluded: "The Hunter, with its monstrous choruses, powerful percussion and jaw-on-the-floor fret-work, is sure to connect with anyone who’s previously rocked out to the band's wares just as easily as it will absolute beginners. Don’t like metal? You might just love Mastodon."[18]

Allmusic reviewed the album giving it a score of 4 out of 5, saying "Mastodon's increasingly accessible sound may not land them a hit anytime soon, but cuts like "Black Tongue", "Curl of the Burl", and "Blasteroid", all of which arrive in sequence at the front of the set, show a willingness to write within the parameters of 21st century pop music’s dark side."[19]

The release was named the "Album of the Year" by Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Kerrang!, Rock Sound and The Times.

Track listingEdit

All songs written and composed by Mastodon.

# Track title Lead vocals Length
1. "Black Tongue" Troy Sanders 3:27
2. "Curl of the Burl" Brann Dailor, Brent Hinds, Sanders 3:40
3. "Blasteroid" Sanders, Hinds 2:35
4. "Stargasm" Sanders, Hinds, Dailor 4:39
5. "Octopus Has No Friends" Dailor, Sanders 3:48
6. "All the Heavy Lifting" Sanders 4:31
7. "The Hunter" Hinds, Sanders 5:17
8. "Dry Bone Valley" Dailor, Sanders 3:59
9. "Thickening" Hinds, Sanders 4:30
10. "Creature Lives" Dailor 4:41
11. "Spectrelight" (feat. Scott Kelly[20]) Sanders, Scott Kelly 3:09
12. "Bedazzled Fingernails" Sanders 3:08
13. "The Sparrow" Mastodon 5:30
Limited Edition bonus tracks[21]
# Track title Lead vocals Length
14. "The Ruiner" Sanders 3:11
15. "Deathbound" Bill Kelliher 2:48


  • Mike Elizondo – production, mixing
  • Scott Kelly – lead vocals/additional lyrics on "Spectrelight"
  • Rich Morris – synths and keyboards on "Stargasm" and "Bedazzled Fingernails"
  • Will Raines – synths and keyboards on "The Sparrow" and "The Hunter"


Chart (2011) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart[22] 15
Hungarian Albums Chart[23] 20
Swedish Albums Chart[24] 10
UK Album Charts[25] 19
Billboard 200[26] 10


  1. Mastodon to release upcoming album 'The Hunter' on Roadrunner Records. Roadrunner Records (July 26, 2011). Retrieved on July 27, 2011.
  2. Mastodon 'The Hunter' Release Date Announced. Rock Sound (July 26, 2011). Retrieved on July 27, 2011.
  3. New Mastodon: 'Black Tongue'. Pitchfork Media (July 26, 2011). Retrieved on July 27, 2011.
  6. Mastodon | 'Playing God' Australian video premiere. Retrieved on 2011-09-24.
  9. Guitarist Brent Hinds Comments On Forthcoming New Album From Mastodon. Metal Undergorund.
  10. MASTODON: First New Songtitles Revealed - May 23, 2011. -
  13. Mastodon talk about new songs, new artwork : Official Sonisphere Festival UK – 2012 – Knebworth House, 6th – 8th July 2012. Retrieved on 2011-09-24.
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named metacritic
  15. Reviews of The Hunter collated by AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved on 2011-10-12.
  16. REVIEW: Mastodon – The Hunter. Under The Gun Review (2011-09-07). Retrieved on 2011-09-24.
  17. Features | Track-by-track: | Mastodon - The Hunter, A Track-By-Track Guide. The Quietus. Retrieved on 2011-09-24.
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 11:51
  19. James Christopher Monger. Hunter [Clean - Mastodon]. Retrieved on 2011-09-27.
  20. The Hunter featuring Scott Kelly. Rock Sound (September 2, 2011).
  21. Mastodon 'The Hunter' Tracklisting Available. Rock Sound (August 4, 2011). Retrieved on August 4, 2011.
  23. MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved on 2011-10-05.
  26. MASTODON's 'The Hunter' Cracks U.S. Top 10. BlabberMouth.

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