Crack the Skye review by Mastodon

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  • Released: Mar 24, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (391 votes)
Mastodon: Crack the Skye
3

Sound — 9
For much of their career, Atlanta's Mastodon have created music that is the sonic equivalent of dusting off centuries of accumulated dirt from a long-buried fossil. The leaden yet lengthy songs moved much like the extinct, mammothian beast from which the band borrowed it's name. Mastodon became the band du jour in both the extreme metal scene as well as among hipsters. With Crack The Skye, their second major label release, the band's tradition of artsy metal remains in full effect. Noted producer Brendan O'Brien manned the boards for Crack The Skye, so there is an obvious polish to much of the music. It's unexpected, at least from Mastodon. The clean vocals on Oblivion remind us of Ozzy Osbourne, thanks to their nasally tone. But it's the oddity of the sound that allows the song to be so charming. There are jammy moments, a sprinkling of shred here and there and through it all, the band layers nuance atop nuance in a complicated, artistic way. Quintessence is a moody song that can lull you into a trance with it's hypnotic riffing. Mastodon are proof that metal doesn't have to be quite so lunkheaded without sacrificing an ounce of force and aggression to make it's points.

Lyrics — 7
Singer/bassist Troy Sanders has evolved the most in Mastodon. He's singing for his supper more than ever on Crack The Skye, but a song like Divinations is slightly hampered by what sounds like over processing of his vocals. It's a solid slab of hard rock, but the vocals are a bit too cooked. It might take one or two or 15 listens for the vocal style on this song to stop being discontinuous. Other than that, Sanders has boldly and bravely taken a step up here, emitting words that are much more decipherable than that of past Mastodon efforts. The band remains rooted in that mythical vibe, lyrically speaking, which lets Crack The Skye be a sonic journey through and through. The album, also reported to be a bit of an homage to drummer Brann Dailor's late sister Skye, touches on themes of the art of Tsarist Russia and Stephen Hawking theories. To say that it's thought provoking and extraordinary would be, well, putting it mildly.

Overall Impression — 8
What to make of Mastodon in 2009? They're still the same crusty and extremely talented metal dudes from Atlanta. Only they're making music for Warner Bros. Instead of Relapse. The band still has more in common with former Relapse bands like Neurosis than, say, current labelmates like My Chemical Romance or Disturbed. Signing to a major label didn't equate to selling out with Mastodon; they're still churning out leviathan-sized riffs, inserting unexpected twists in the middle of a groove that can loosen your teeth from your gums. There's a bit of polish added to Crack The Skye and what the hell? It's the band's prerogative and if we don't evolve and grow, we die. The mythic Mastodon creature didn't learn that lesson. It's a good thing that Mastodon the band did.

85 comments sorted by best / new / date

    dark&broken
    Jack_Sibelius wrote: mindup wrote: the best Hard Rock/Metal album of the decade I dunno about that but its a damn good album, its definately pretty high up on my list. Best metal album? Lateralus and 10.000 Days. Nuff said.
    How can you even compare them? Tool and Mastodon are the Gods of hard rock and metal of this decade. They're both head and shoulders above the rest in their own way.
    Jack_Sibelius
    mindup wrote: the best Hard Rock/Metal album of the decade I dunno about that but its a damn good album, its definately pretty high up on my list.
    Best metal album? Lateralus and 10.000 Days. Nuff said.
    SirShredfast
    wonder how much money UG got for whoring the album anyway, Blackwater Park is definitely the album of the decade, this doesn't come close nough, sorry, but we all know it's true. maybe the next one, Mastodon (they said it'll come out soon)
    Shaned
    I tried to get into mastodon like two years back but i wasnt completely digging them this album is tons better than before *new mastodon fan here*
    fitterhappier34
    I'm not a big fan of metal at all, but the dudes in Mastodon are incredible musicians. Brann Dailor is clearly one of the best drummers ever.
    boyan89
    Well it's unique and sure it's a change for them, but hell I like it.
    Flying Afros
    My second Mastodon album I have bought. I got Leviathan a few weeks ago, my first Mastodon record, and it was great, and so is this. I love these guys. They never repeat themselves and their sound is so damn unique. Even the artwork is awesome. I was watching the DVD that came with my album and the story behind each song is so cool. Astral travel and a guy getting lost while doing it, then saved by Rasputin before he dies and...it's so out there. I forget which song, but it even has bit of country and surf guitar thrown in there. No one else has the balls or the brains to make a record like this. I'm seeing Mastodon in April and I can't ****ing wait.
    GnikNus
    damn, i haven't enjoyed an album this much right off the bat in a long ass time
    justlaxin73
    Zeltaok wrote: I actually downloaded this album ( dont hate me for it) and when i had listened to the first song, Oblivion, I almost fell into a coma and never recovered. Then I proceeded to delete the album from my computer and bought the album. IT FUCKING AWESOME, I REPEAT, IT IS FUCKING AWESOME!!!!!
    exactly what I did. I got the leaked version, listened to the first song, then immediately bought the cd. Thats how good this is!
    Deflection
    Mastodon finally get the recognition they deserve. One of the most talented bands ever.
    mateothebest
    Jack_Sibelius wrote: mindup wrote: the best Hard Rock/Metal album of the decade I dunno about that but its a damn good album, its definately pretty high up on my list. Best metal album? Lateralus and 10.000 Days. Nuff said.
    tools there own genre, i wouldn't consider them metal
    petergreen
    bought the last copy at the record store last night! This honestly makes my life worth living!
    petergreen
    bought the last copy at the record store last night! This is honestly makes my life worth living!
    korbhag
    Masterpiece? Conceptual? Progressive? That sounds like Mastodon released their own "Colors"! I must definitely buy this!
    Tatersalad1080
    wow, i just dl'd it to check it out and was so unbelievably impressed im thinking i might go actually pay for it,along with blood mountain just to make up for not paying for it originally. This album and this band are effing gods!
    Wizardwrath
    This is one of the best CD's i've listened to in a long time. Its also one of the few rarities that you can listen to from start to finish. In my opinion, Quintessence and Ghost of Kareila are my favorites right now...I love the mood they set forth. There isnt one bad song on this track....and I mean even if Divinations was meant to be their single (usually single's get very boring after listening to them for quite awhile) It doesnt let up or get old. Definately best album thus far of 2009. Hopefully they will win a grammy this time, they shouldve won one for blood mountain too but that was a close call with Tool's 10,000 days (both albums Imo were very great)
    justlaxin73
    I've already listened to this cd live and it is unbelievable. They ventured away from some of their older stuff but man are they still amazing
    axez_steve_jam
    my girl bought this album for me! and its sounds FUCKING awsome, i love the song Oblivion, also The Last Baron!
    richard235
    I'm quite disappointed with the album and don't understand all the hype over it. I don't mind that it's not that heavy but I feel the vocals are too forward in the mix and there are too many vocal effects; some of the riffs get lost. I think Oblivion and the Czar are really good tracks and the solo in The Last Baron is great but the rest aren't so good. All this talk of how the band are progressing properly and how it's the album of the decade etc I don't really care about, I just want to like the CD as much as the others but unfortuantely I don't..
    Shustermeister
    Eh. I think id have to be a stoner to enjoy this album more. Creds to the instrumental work, just couldnt get into it.
    l3xbi
    Yeah because tool are really metal? I just bought this album, as well as the divinations MP3 a couple of weeks back, I love this band. Blood Mountain was such an inspiring CD.
    Kelicon
    This is an Amazing album. It's softer vocally... but definitely the unique sound that is Mastodon. Guitars are absolutely phenomenal. 1st album this year I can personally listen to multiple times in one sitting. IMO Crack the Skye is the best song on the album.
    Gymb
    At first listen, I didn't get it...with each successive listen, you are drawn nearer to the event horizon of this black hole of an album. By the time you realize what is happening, your soul will have been inescapably tattooed by this son of a bitch. I thought Blood Mountain was addictive, as I listened to it for the 20th or 30th time - the pull of this bastard is even stronger...it'll happen to you, too.
    bloodshed344
    Mask_Of_Sanity wrote: Flying Afros wrote: My second Mastodon album I have bought. I got Leviathan a few weeks ago, my first Mastodon record, and it was great, and so is this. I love these guys. They never repeat themselves and their sound is so damn unique. Even the artwork is awesome. I was watching the DVD that came with my album and the story behind each song is so cool. Astral travel and a guy getting lost while doing it, then saved by Rasputin before he dies and...it's so out there. I forget which song, but it even has bit of country and surf guitar thrown in there. No one else has the balls or the brains to make a record like this. I'm seeing Mastodon in April and I can't ****ing wait. Between The Buried And Me have Colors, an album with so many random genres tossed into it. But alas. BTBAM and Mastodon are two of the best bands of our time. -mask of sanity-
    You forget about Lye By Mistake's "Arrangements for Culminating Vective"
    Josh Laiho
    After listening to this album multiple times, I would have to say that this is one of the most brilliant albums I have ever heard. It it quite possibly Mastodons best. I think it's much better than Blood Mountian.
    Pingis_Or_Death
    Kanthras wrote: "anyway, Blackwater Park is definitely the album of the decade, this doesn't come close nough, sorry, but we all know it's true." Actually, that would be Noctambulant
    +1
    Brasseye81
    You cannot fault the way they are progressing and improving. My only criticism is that it maybe is too melow in some places for Remission-heads. Personally its not as good as BM, but I still really enjoyed this album. Cant wait to see them this summer.
    DANZIG767
    i wanna get really stoned and listen to this album, i bet it would be amazing
    Mask_Of_Sanity
    Flying Afros wrote: My second Mastodon album I have bought. I got Leviathan a few weeks ago, my first Mastodon record, and it was great, and so is this. I love these guys. They never repeat themselves and their sound is so damn unique. Even the artwork is awesome. I was watching the DVD that came with my album and the story behind each song is so cool. Astral travel and a guy getting lost while doing it, then saved by Rasputin before he dies and...it's so out there. I forget which song, but it even has bit of country and surf guitar thrown in there. No one else has the balls or the brains to make a record like this. I'm seeing Mastodon in April and I can't ****ing wait.
    Between The Buried And Me have Colors, an album with so many random genres tossed into it. But alas. BTBAM and Mastodon are two of the best bands of our time. -mask of sanity-
    CarbonDeath
    Wow, have no idea whats up, but I loved it. I wanted Mastodon to take this direction to sort of a softer more laid back groove metal. Excellent track progression ending with the Last Baron.
    Corey Taylor
    Pernell wrote: Such a disappointing album
    yea...i unfortunately felt the same... *sigh*
    Axlthegreat
    brilliant album will get me into mastodon a lot more, I kind of liked them before but this album takes them to new heights in my book.
    Harvey_Danger
    This is an awesome album, and is simply comtributing to this awesome year for metal - Mastodon, Isis, and Eluveite all in the span of a month. Now if only Tool would come out with a new album, I could die happy.
    CaptainPants
    Yep, definitely a masterpiece that works on many levels. For that reason I suggest anybody with doubts after the first listen give it a few more spins. It really grows on you.
    dustinrhocks4
    wasnt really into mastodon when i first heard them a while ago but this album is amazing.
    dlheidemann
    This album is awesome!!! Gotta love playing fender strats and teles on the record to get twangy metal.
    SuperGoofy13
    well it's a very cool album but not really high in my top list. maybe with a little more experience they 'll climb higher ;
    jamie_hough
    The first review by UG is good... the second one giving all round 10's is not. Im sick of people putting reviews up of their favourite bands who have no mind of their own to criticise and examine, sure its an 8 or 9, but its not a 10... I dont know what is...