Mastodon's news LP, The Hunter, is easily the most commercially accessible disc in the Atlanta metal beasts' 12-year career. The band's last album, 2009's seven-track Crack the Skye, came complete with two ten-minute long-form jams, elaborate artwork and a trippy, conceptual film about Rasputin and Tsarist Russia that played behind them at their live shows and was actually worth watching. The Hunter, though, is a muscle-laden, 13-track disc with no recurring concept to wrap your brain around, and no clear connection with the classical element Mastodon's past few releases have touted. This is a batch of the kind of metal that we have grown to expect from them since 2002's Remission, and continues to cement their legacy as one of the few built-to-last hard-rock bands to emerge in the past two decades. The Hunter proves that Mastodon make loud sound almost effortless ("Spectrelight"), know when to overdose on inherent groove ("Curl of the Burl") and can still bust out the mysticism ("The Sparrow") for maximum effect.

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