Having known Mastodon from their Call of the Mastodon album, it was clear that this was not a record which went back to their origins, but one which again carried them forward from Crack the Skye.

I ordered the 45 rpm version since I wanted the best edition they would publish, in part due to the fact that I found the regular edition of Crack The Skye to be kind of harsh in the highs and very boomy in the lows.

“It sounds like Zeppelin with these smooth buttery vocals and a huge Jimmy Page-style guitar solo. Me and Brann [Dailor, drums] play off each other also in this sort of proggy way. There’s a lot of stuff for the listener to tweak their ear to.”
-Brent Hinds, Mastodon

The re-issues of Leviathan and Blood Mountain sounded great to me, so I figured they finally got it right. And alas, no disappointments with the 45 rpm edition, it’s clear and crisp (what the Augmented Reality Experience label on the cover is about I cannot say, though). The record was produced by Mike Elizondo who’s mostly known for his work in hiphop with the likes of Dr. Dre, Eminem and even Nelly Furtado.

The sound on The Hunter is a lot more open and accessible in my opinion, maybe this is in part due to the influence of Elizondo, but in general, making Mastodons sound clearer and more crisp while maintaining the heavyness is not a bad thing. There’s also Remission and Call of the Mastodon to put on if we want the gritty gutter edition of Mastodon.

“After meeting him and hearing his ideas and unique perspective on our band we thought this could be really interesting. We’re all about doing things that other people don’t, so let’s do an album with the guy who just worked with 50 Cent and Eminem. How crazy is that? We always try and embrace the unexpected.”
- Brent Hinds, Mastodon

The record’s got plenty of Mastodon sillyness going on, but first and foremost, to me, it continues their development in a positive and more mature direction. With every record, from ‘Leviathan’ to ‘Blood Mountain’, on to ‘Crack the Skye’ and now ‘The Hunter’, they’ve grown more and more melodic, less furious and a whole lot more disciplined.

It also seems like they are becoming more and more aware of how to mix different elements of a song to produce parts that complement each other and together makes the songs even better. To some, this might make this album the most “mainstream” they’ve done, and I can agree with that to an extent.

What you get in return are songs with greater depth, complexity and maturity. In particular, songs like Stargasm, All the heavy lifting, The Hunter, Octopus has no friends and The Sparrow all fit this description and traces can be heard back to Blood Mountain’s Sleeping Giant.

The Concert

So, being a big fan of Mastodon and only having seen them briefly warming up for Metallica, I was a happy fanboy when their concert in Copenhagen was announced. Happily the concert was played in Vega, one of the best concert venues in Copenhagen.

I’ve already forgotten who did the warmup duties, but as many times it was energetic but not really fantastic. We’d been a bit worried with the news of Mr. Hinds and his foot damage, but of course, he never took notice of it during the concert although he might have been more mobile otherwise.

Basically, all albums were well represented, with the albums since Leviathan taking the biggest load. If there was one disappointment, it was that neither The Hunter nor The Sparrow were played, two songs that in sequel would have finished the set excellently.

Instead we got The Creature Lives with the crew on stage, not a bad gimmick by any means, if it wasn’t for the fact that we kept hoping to hear the combo mentioned before. Alltogether it was a really great concert, they absolutely did not disappoint and their attitude, to go out there and give everything, no matter how small the venue, was present. I’m really looking forward to seing them again at Copenhell, I am sure they’ll once again give their best.

I shot this video of Black Tongue the second song in their set:

The T-shirt

Allright, post concert it is. Not far from the venue a bar was located (Bang og Jensen) and we decided to go there and grab a beer before heading home, just to discuss the concert and hang out for a bit.

Before leaving the venue I bough the red The Hunter t-shirt and dragged it with me, another one for the collection. I keep telling myself that when I get to my retirment age (70+ in this country by the looks of things) I’ll be wearing Mars Volta, Deftones, Zeppelin and Mastodon t-shirts exlusively, but let’s see when we get there. Anyhow, not long into our beer, Mr. Kelliher walks in with a bunch of people, part crew, part guests.

No more than 20 minutes pass and Mr. Dailor and Mr. Hinds join the fray, with Mr. Sanders following in last place. So, needless to say, I start harrassing the guys with a pen and get their sigs on my red t-shirt; they were all really nice and down to earth, took their time with a bit of chat and of course their signatures.

Brann revealed that they’d play Copenhell this summer. Copenhell is a 2 Day festival which is going to be really cool this year, with Slayer, Anthrax, Meshuggah, Gojira, Soulfly and Mastodon on the bill, along with other names like Marilyn Manson, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Trivium and Immortal.