- Mon, 2011-08-01 12:27
With the release in 2009 of Crack The Skye, Atlantan heavy metallers Mastodon completed a quartet of albums that had begun with their debut Remission and had been continued with Leviathan and Blood Mountain. Each album represented one of the four classical elements – fire, water, earth and air – and over the course of their combined three and a half hours runtime they established the band as one of the foremost progenitors of progressive metal. But with that chapter of the band’s creative journey now concluded they are preparing to open a new one with the release of their fifth album, The Hunter.
In recognition of the fresh start the band have brought in new collaborators for both the album’s visuals and its production, hiring AJ Fosik for the former - as opposed to long-standing creative partner Paul Romano - and Mike Elizondo for the latter (also responsible for Avenged Sevenfold’s Nightmare). They have also hinted that the sound of the album will be something of a departure from their previous work, with less of a progressive bent.
The first piece of music to be aired from the project is new single Black Tongue, and it does indeed exchange the exploratory disposition of previous tracks for a more straightforward – but nonetheless exhilarating – thrash sound. It remains unmistakably Mastodon, the rich guitar tones, pounding percussion and echoing vocals all present and correct, but the journey that these elements combine to take us on follows a more linear path than might once have been the case. Of course, Black Tongue is not necessarily representative of The Hunter as a whole, but if this is indeed what the new Mastodon material sounds like then we have plenty to be excited about.