Metallica will stand in metal history as the biggest, greatest band that ever got too far up its own ass and shit the bed musically. Lots of people remember when the Black Album came out; not me, because I was really young and didn't give two shits about Metallica when I was six. I actually liked the Black Album (and I still kind of do, since it reminds me of childhood and starting fires and not knowing any better), and it still holds a place in my heart as an album that I can deal with.
Suck on that!
But that's only until I got an opportunity to listen to their first three albums, which was, for me, years later. I felt all of those ways that the Olde Schoole Metallica fans must have felt. Incredulous at what they turned in to. Confused that they would turn their backs so unceremoniously on vastly superior music in order to pander to the douchey masses. Surprised that anybody could take them seriously after having so drastically altered their sound.
It was a whirlwind of emotion!
This famous and renowned bed-shitting will stand as the benchmark for all other bands who start to achieve that next level greatness, that kind of success that we all decry and whisper about to each other with disdain, but would realistically trade our left nut for. Are you telling me you don't want to ever be able to afford a Lamborghini? If you said, "Yes, that's what I'm telling you," you're nothing but a lying, smelly douchebag milkshake. You're nothing but a turd with Mister Potato Head facial accessories stuffed in to it, and the mouth is programmed to tell kvltness-based falsehoods. Everybody wants to be like Brian Bosworth! Though I would concede that fewer people would like to share his haircut.
Not pictured, Brian Bosworth's Lamborghini, because he doesn't like it enough to ever drive it around.
I'm proud of Mastodon; I've been a fan ever since a buddy of mine floated me a burned cd with an unmastered leak of Leviathan on it. I was immediately hooked and became a Mastodon fanatic. I bought their stuff with reckless abandon and consumed it like a school of piranha swarming some unsuspecting sludge cow outside of a remote African village while sad tribesmen look on. I was insatiable! Mastodon stand as one of the greatest bands of this generation and, much like Metallica, have influenced countless other people who went on to form other great bands.
Also like Metallica, Mastodon shit the bed after discarding their early (and far superior) style that made them popular in the first place.
The Hunter is the next step in Mastodon's evolution away from the roots that we all fell in love with, carrying the torch that Crack the Skye passed into a boring, uninspired, and amorphous progressive limbo. Where Crack the Skye had shining moments that harken back to what made Mastodon great in the first place, though, The Hunter showcases what may as well be an entirely new band, retaining very little character that defined the band in the first place. Save for a song toward the beginning of the album (I was listening to the stream and I can't remember what it's called), which has a Torche vibe and showcases the old screaming style that I miss so dearly in a Mastodon album, The Hunter is really boring. It sounds like a bunch of dudes who like old Mastodon but can't write good riffs got a band together and recorded a slick album. Except these dudes think they can sing!
Oh, my heart is heavy with sadness. I hate to trash Mastodon so badly, but it has to be said. I couldn't live with myself if I wrote this review dishonestly, and hating a Mastodon album grieves me deeply. Right now, I'm kneeling in a muddy pond, a copy of The Hunter floating in front of me. It's dark and the rain is coming down too hard to drive in, and lightning streaks across the sky. I gaze down at what once was so beautiful, but that the rigors of the harsh world have crushed forever, and my eyes fill with tears. I tilt my head back and scream to the unforgiving heavens.
It's a sad scene. I feel like Mastodon was my partner, and HE WAS ONLY ONE DAY FROM RETIREMENT! My thirst for vengeance cannot be sated, but since I've got a sweet 80's mullet and a motorcycle that I do wheelies on, I resolve to take down the bastards who did this to Mastodon, who always had my back, even when times were dark and my wife left me!
Sorry, things went a little Lethal Weapon there for a second. And I'm always Mel Gibson!
I can't believe that it came to this. Even after that time I met Brent Hinds and we became best friends forever, my influence on his life couldn't keep Mastodon from becoming the new Metallica. Oh, the pain. The pain of it all!
There comes a time in most bands' musical catalog where you just start pretending that they don't make new albums anymore. In Flames did it when they recorded Clayman, and as far as I'm willing to concede, haven't made a new album in all these years. Which is great, because who would want such an excellent band to shit all over their legacy with clean singing and stuff? So now, in the years since Blood Mountain was released, here I sit, without even a single new Mastodon record. Where have you guys gone?
I will avenge your death!
Stream The Hunter here. You've been warned.