The new Mastodon album ‘The Hunter’ features artwork from newly recruited AJ Fosik, currently based in Phildelphia, PA and the band are currently touring with one of his pieces as their backdrop (above). There is a really fresh feel to the The Hunter which is tentatively expected 27th September 2011.
I get the impression that after creating such an altogether complex and emotionally draining (especially for Brann Dailor) epic that was ‘Crack the Skye’; the bearded bards felt like releasing a fresh and quirky next effort and procured refreshing and quirky art to match. Of course, you can expect that AJ Fosik, originally from South East Michigan is quite a character himself, for instance his show at White Walls, SF in 2009 was called ‘There’s Aliens in Our Midst’, a seemingly absurd title for an art viewing! His is not your average technique for producing album art either, you see, he makes wood carvings and takes photos of them…
Despite the charm, character and obvious skill needed to create these carvings I was sceptical about marrying Fosik’s art with Mastodon’s music. Perhaps it was the mere step away from Romano, by now an institution, and not any poignant aspect of the new art that induced such scepticism. After all, change from a winning formula is risky, but that’s Mastodon. They keep it new and crisp, never stale.
Yet something did not quite sit right with it, for example the faux runes in the new font made me cringe. Yet needless to say, as with everything Mastodon, the cover has grown on me. Especially after a bit of research on this here tinterweb and digging up a lot of Fosik’s other work. All the carvings available to view on Fosik’s site (www.ajfosik.com) are intriguing. They look like bizarre amalgamations of vicious Nordic wolves and that style of 12th Century Samurai armour, fearsome and angry looking. The Hunter is named in honour of guitarist Brent Hind’s brother who unexpectedly passed away while hunting and Fosik’s sculpture for the album aptly carries a strong hunting theme.
‘The Hunter’ out 27th September 2011. Full Tracklist released:
The Octopus Has No Friends
Curl of the Burl
All the Heavy Lifting
Dry Bone Valley
We can’t fucking wait for this album at Adrenochrome Music, especially after reading Brann Dailor’s quote in a recent interview saying ‘it’s definitely the headbanging music you can drink beer to’! So be wary and keep a watch on this space. As the release date nears we WILL keep you informed.