When: Fri., Nov. 11, 7 p.m. 2011
As soon as a metal band starts showing potential for significant popularity outside the metal market—that's the point where more than 10 percent of the crowd own wardrobes with something besides black T-shirts in them—many of the metalheads in that crowd start to worry that the band will make a break for the mainstream by releasing a rock record. In the case of Atlanta's Mastodon, a rock record seemed inevitable—they've always tempered their supreme heaviness with a mile-wide pop streak—and they've finally delivered it with The Hunter (Reprise). The lead single, "Curl of the Burl," is an improbably dense slab of a song—it definitely sounds like metal on the surface—but at its heart it's a highly melodic guitar boogie that ZZ Top could've come up with in the Eliminator era. Most of the album takes a similar approach, at least till the last third—at which point Mastodon make the respectably weird decision to pay tribute to Donovan's psych-pop with analog synthesizers ("Creature Lives"), then lay down a couple of the most metal metal songs they've ever done. —Miles Raymer The Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Fang open.