Review Summary: This is the shooting star and the bright halo for all that Mastodon stands for.
Every so often, there is a band out there that might be masters of particular genre, and even though they go headstrong through their entire career, they still feel it necessary to explore a new territory and mark their ground where they can. Many popular bands do this all around us. Korn did it with Follow the Leader, Papa Roach kind of did it with Getting Away With Murder, Linkin Park did it with Minutes to Midnight, and many others. Changing your style and trying to capture a wider variety of fans is often a very risky task and can cost a band the remainder of their career. It's a trial and error system, and frankly, Mastodon has skipped over this and went straight for the throat.
Crack The Skye is an album that broadens Mastodon's music beyond space. Where their previous albums like Leviathan provided heavy vocals and raging instrumentals like a standard grunge group would, now, they have softened their sound to more melodic intonation, and have reduced the wretchedness of their vocals. That simply put, Mastodon have completely reinvented their sound and are no longer extending a natural sound from a previous album.
As far as metal goes, a lot of immature bands tend to import their sound from many other bands of a similar stature, and often recreate their sound using inspiration from a very slim source. Mastodon on the other hand, as clearly portrayed in this album, create their own unique sound. When album opens up with the beginning riff, and carries into the verse, and you get a clear shot at Brent's new clean vocals, and melodic guitars, you get your first taste of Mastodon's new stand. As phenomenal as this new sound appears, it only gets better. "Oblivion" is the hit single off this album, but it is not necessarily the best of this album. A lot of the twin guitar battles don’t exist anymore, and the drumming isn’t as rapid and fast-paced as their previous albums. Everything instrumentally is about sharing the stage, and the vocals back it all up well.
"Divinations" is the lesser example of superiority this album portrays as far as their new sound goes, but it does have some nostalgia aspects to it considering it is the closest this album has to offer resembling anything from their past. Harder riffs and slightly harsher vocals compliment the song very well, but ultimately fail to match up with anything from the remainder of this album. "Quintessence" is easily the best song on the album. As much controversy as that bold statement will cause, not only did this song set the perfect tone for metal prodigy, "The Czar", It also exemplified the album's most spectacular guitar, bass, and vocal moments on the album. The verse is an ever expanding beat that prepares for the best chorus on the album. The bass for this song is more than just grooving in the background, it’s a crowd control. The bass for this song mostly, but the album as a whole as well, sets the volume for the album and prevents other instruments from getting too excited. Also, the bass is more upfront. When other instruments go into a constant melodic stage, the bass and drums or vocals can come in and finish the job.
When the album is all finished, it is final that this album has no issue as far as outdoing everything in it. Unlike previous albums, Mastodon's Crack The Skye truly portrays a better style for the group. As good as the other albums were this style would complement the band the most. As much controversy as this album acclaimed, be it good or bad critique, it is easily Mastodon's best album to date. Almost everything the band does in this album is 100% organized and consistent. The composure for this album was very well done, and hopefully, this new style will last for a while.