In what is sure to come as no surprise to anyone, I've decided to go with Mastodon's new disc "The Hunter" as my metal pick of the week. I can't say enough about how important it is to me for a band to write a good, cohesive album instead of just a few good tunes strung together with filler. The great bands almost always put together a collection of songs that make sense together and take the listener on a journey.

That's exactly the reason I've always gravitated towards Mastodon's music. From the moment I heard Remission I knew this band was something special. Not only did I listen to it multiple times back-to-back, but the music was unlike anything I had ever heard. Sure, there are some definite influences in there but Mastodon did a good job of throwing their influences into the melting pot and coming out with something that is distinctly their own.

Fast-forward to 2011 and Mastodon is one of the biggest metal bands on the planet. They, along with Lamb Of God are easily the most popular metal bands to break through in the last decade and while Lamb Of God has evolved their sound over the years, Mastodon has experimented further with their music and the result has (for the most part) been well-received by their fan base.

The Hunter marks the first time the band has really written a radio single. Yeah, "Oblivion" gets a little love from radio but "Curl of the Burl" is getting a whole lotta love right now. The song's definitely a little different and more of a straightforward rock song than the rest of the album and it has a hook that is essential to most rock radio programmers. Whether you like a song or not...if it gets stuck in your head, the artist did their job and those are the kind of songs the casual listener tends to dig. So in that case, Mastodon got it right with "Curl of the Burl"...and not to mention it still works well within the album.

From opening track "Black Tongue" to the closer "The Sparrow", Mastodon takes the listener on a ride of ups and downs reminiscent of Crack The Skye,but distinct in it's own right. I often profess my love for Leviathan, but I like all of their albums and while The Hunter is progressive it still incorporates their earlier sound...especially with my favorite track on the album, "Spectrelight".

Sit back and relax, throw on the headphones and enjoy the ride that is The Hunter. Mastodon got it right again.

The Hunter is out now on Reprise Records.