Mastodon
Crack the Skye


4.0
excellent

Review

by Edmund Blackadder USER (32 Reviews)
April 10th, 2009 | 99 replies | 5,757 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mastodon create another great album with few flaws that appeals to both old and new fans.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Mastodon
Crack The Skye
Reprise, 2009

Mastodon is...
Troy Sanders: Vocals, bass
Brent Hinds: Guitar, vocals
Bill Kelliher: Guitar
Brann Dailor: Drums, vocals
Scott Kelly: Vocals on 'Crack The Skye'

In 2004, I was surprised to come across a little album that bore the name of 'Leviathan'. It had a super cool cover, and some great metal tunes. Full of Moby Dick references, the album kept me interested for the rest of the year. Two years later, I happened to stumble upon another little CD named 'Blood Mountain', which, while not being as solid as 'Leviathan', was still a decent album...

And now it is 2009, and I have stumbled across another little album. This one bearing the name of 'Crack The Skye'. Before popping this one into my CD player, I wondered if this album would live up to the epic 'Leviathan'. It did.

If there is one thing that I can say Mastodon has improved on with this album, it is the vocals. They are no longer the harsh growls and screams found on previous records, with aggressiveness and power surrendering to great vocal harmonies. Much of the band, at some point on this album, sings, and it sounds great. The album opener 'Oblivion' really showcases the vocal talents here. The choruses on every song are extremely catchy and infectuous, and will likely remain in your head for days. On the title track, Scott Kelly of Neurosis adds his own voice to the mix, which also ends successfully.

Just like the vocals, the instruments have also been toned down. Although many will miss the more harsh, powerful approach found on previous albums, I believe that this change in styles is all for the better. Unlike the past, more metal releases, 'Crack The Skye' also has a progressive side to it, with much changing of tempos and speeds, especially on the two epics 'The Czar' and 'The Last Baron'.

Two things that really stand out on the album, aside from the vocals, are the drums and guitar, which are truly brilliant. Bill Kelliher, the lead guitarist here, can spew out some great solos, while Brent Hinds can lay down some crazy riffs and melodies. 'The Czar' contains a truly awesome solo at the 8:50 mark, and makes the album worth downloading by itself. Brann Dailor is also a top notch drummer, adding in great fills while also contributing to the vocal section. The bass, while not being especially note worthy, still plays its part properly, especially on 'The Last Baron', where the lines correspond very well with the rest of the music.

The album is still not perfect, however. 'Ghost of Karelia' is not very exciting and will most likely pass by unnoticed. Some songs also seem to drag on for a bit too long or grow slightly tiring, although this problem does start to vanish after several listens. The lyrical content is also strange, dealing with time-space travel and Czarist Russia. The lyrical themes are very interesting and consistent, but the lyrics themselves are sometimes rather weak, often detracting from the epic feel of some of the songs.

'Crack The Skye' will appeal to both old and new fans alike, with some great, catchy vocal harmonies and some brilliant instrumentation. Despite a few flaws, it is still quite excellent, and a contender for my favorite metal album this year.

<+>Pros<+>
-Drums and guitar
-Vocal Harmonies
-Consistent
-Great replay value

<->Cons<->
-'Ghost of Karelia'
-Can get repetitive

Recommended Tracks <Download Or Die>
-Oblivion
-Quintessence
-The Czar
-The Last Baron



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user ratings (3148)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
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    More prog than metal, but will be easily appreciated by fans of either....

    crackerjack (5)
    A stone throw away from oblivion....

    Idioteque (5)
    An album to drown in...

    Hernan M. Campbell STAFF (4.7)
    The Mystical, the Heavy, and the Prog....

  • Will Forest (4.5)
    This is the shooting star and the bright halo for all that Mastodon stands for....

    Will C. (4.5)
    Mastodon makes a humongous change in their style and takes the listener into a void of unc...

    sulkenigma (4.5)
    This is an album that can be described as epic with or without any irony......

    Darkvoid67 (3.5)
    Mastodon venture further into the land of prog, and discover their softer side...

  • therayder (4.5)
    A mysterious, haunting, and fantastic journey across the cosmos, courtesy of Mastodon...

    Professor (4)
    Unlike many progressive metal bands, Mastodon just can't stop progressing....

    potsos (4.5)
    Crack the Skye finds Mastodon continuing to tip the scales toward prog-metal vision, clean...

    quinny1989 (4.5)
    Simply Fantastic....

  • Jorn van Scha├»k (4)
    If the evolution found on this record is the destiny of Mastodon, then metal's collective ...

    Sean (4.5)
    An amazing successor to the critically acclaimed "Blood Mountain". Mastodon continue their...

    Nick Greer EMERITUS (2)
    A strange journey into the occult that leaves the listener with an earful of amazing riffs...

    IronGenesis (4.5)
    Crack the Skye is a musically polished output and arguably Mastodon's most technically foc...

  • Fugue (4)
    Crack the Skye is Mastodon's proggiest album to date, showing a vast maturity in the band ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
shindip
April 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, another review of this album.

Photon
April 10th 2009



1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Quintessence is the weakest track on the album

shindip
April 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i love quintessence for some reason

VIPchaseB
April 10th 2009



28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think your mixing up "Ghost of Karelia" and "Quintessence", mah boi

Waior
April 10th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love Quintessence too.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 10th 2009



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree Ghost Of Karelia is the weakest song here. Good review, I've only heard this and Blood Mountain, but can't wait till I hear the older stuff.

Waior
April 10th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And Ghost of Kerelia is a solid track.

Phantom
April 10th 2009



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Mastodon's poopiest album.

gaslightanthem
April 10th 2009



5209 Comments


for sure

Waior
April 10th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

PhantomLimb's poopiest comment.

Phantom
April 10th 2009



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

There are a lot to choose from.

shindip
April 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

2950 as a matter of fact.
probably 2951 in a second

Waior
April 10th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Or in twenty minutes.

shindip
April 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

more like fifteen

Doppelganger
April 10th 2009



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

the intro to oblivion made me actually lol

shindip
April 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how? the intro to divinations could be considered funny bcuz it sounds like a banjo...

Doppelganger
April 10th 2009



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

because oblivion's is so damn corny and I can actually see them all sitting down to write it and going, "dudes this is going to sound badass."

shindip
April 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol if you put it that way... just the thought of the band recording stuff is kinda funny

Waior
April 10th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, that's because Brent is a douche in real life, and the rest of the band seems much more mild-mannered.

I love the Oblivion intro.

Doppelganger
April 10th 2009



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Brent's from where I live, so everyone here likes to talk about how they're best of pals with "Brent from Mastodon."



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