Mastodon
Crack the Skye


4.5
superb

Review

by sulkenigma USER (10 Reviews)
August 22nd, 2011 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is an album that can be described as epic with or without any irony...

'Tis carved onto stone that here marks a new age for progressive-metal titans Mastodon wherein their latest evolutionary journey is as bold as you could possibly imagine. Take a look at that parchment of an album cover and raise your staff high as this is a piece of Jurassic proportions. For thousands of years, there has been a prophecy yadda-yadda-yadda.

But enough about centenarian vocabulary. This album marks another immense transition for this band. The production is shinier, the hooks are catchier, the music is more technical and the overall sound is just as dynamic and ambitious as you'd expect. Mastodon have flown head first through a portal and have cooked up a delicious brew consisting of their timeless harmonies and conceptions destined to evolve mixed in with all the technical jargon of the process along the way.

The first three tracks are prime examples of this. Both opener 'Oblivion' and third track 'Quintessence' contain Mastodon's trademark melody blends which click deeper and deeper with repeated listens. Singer Brent Hinds' voice has adapted into a deeper, more alcohol fueled version of Ozzy Osbourne's distinctive resonance and is surprisingly effective. Even when a cliché phrase such as "Summon the soul of the spectre" is screamed out by Brent on the song 'Divinations' it is cried out with such brute force and feral melody that it belongs perfectly; like two opposite jigsaw pieces welded together with colourful passion. Even at the first wedge of the closer 'The Last Baron' he screeches with such distinction and such intensity as if the bestowal of war is just around the corner.

There wasn't much for other singer Troy Sanders to improve upon but whatever there was, the box has indeed been ticked. His pitch on the chorus of 'Divinations' and 'Crack The Skye' are spot on. The use of time-signatures is also a definite marvel within this musical shell; especially during 'Ghost of Karelia'. Lyrically, this group are just as poetic and historically exploring as ever; covering topics during the concept such as Rasputin in the incredible centrepiece 'The Czar', ethereal and out-of-body experiences in the first three tracks and the devil in the explosive 13-minute finale 'The Last Baron'.

Clocking in at 50 minutes with just 7 tracks, it may prove uneasy for casual listeners, even if the two longer tracks are broken down into barely-digestible chunks. Make no mistake- this is an album that can be described as epic with or without any irony, and even if it might not live up to their previous albums for the dedicated fans and even though they may have tried a little too hard in trying to out-do themselves, what's stopping them from doing what they love? Crack The Skye is a very appropriate title for this aspiring piece as this album proves that the sky is most definitely not the limit for Mastodon as they take flight, spread their timeless wings, stare evolution dead in the face and say "Bite Me".



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user ratings (3255)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • ryallen (4)
    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...

    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...

    Edmund Blackadder (4)
    Mastodon create another great album with few flaws that appeals to both old and new fans....

    quinny1989 (4.5)
    Simply Fantastic....

  • Jorn van Schaïk (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 
Clamface
August 22nd 2011


105 Comments


Prehistoric vocabulary!

ZombicidalMan
August 22nd 2011


1912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I imagine prehistoric vocabulary would be like 'Oog ug.' Review is super hyperbolic and I disagree with most of it, but I won't neg... it was well written.

sulkenigma
August 22nd 2011


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree, 'Prehistoric' was the wrong choice of words. I shall replace it with a more suitable word

Clamface
August 22nd 2011


105 Comments


Centenarian vocabulary!

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2011


7404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, even though it reads more like a 4.5, but that's nitpicking. Pos'd.

Mewcopa0
August 22nd 2011


1803 Comments


Better than whatever the fuck they're making now. Gahh.

North0House2
August 22nd 2011


5880 Comments


Lol, odd, I picked this up at my library the other day, funny to see it posted on the front page right when I was about to listen to it.

Also," A delicious brew." That sounds like something a viking would say.

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Able Bodies

MentalityOfA
August 22nd 2011


1213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty good review. Can't wait for the new album.

Asiatic667
August 22nd 2011


4648 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For some reason, I know this album is better than it seems when I listen to it.



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