Crack the Skye review by Mastodon

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  • Released: Mar 24, 2009
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (393 votes)
Mastodon: Crack the Skye
4

Sound — 10
Mastodon are one of perhaps a handful of bands in recent years whose sound has genuinely evolved from record to record. From the crushing brutality of Remission to the the hallucinatory and seasick inducing riffs of Leviathan and then the psychedelic and frantic efforts of Blood Mountain, Mastodon have undoubtedly proven their ability to create albums which are not simply a collection of interesting tunes but are rather magnificent standalone works of art. Their latest offering, Crack the Skye, is perhaps their most focused album to date and also their most personal. The Skye of the title comes from Skye Dailor, Brann's sister, who commited suicide at the age of 14. In terms of sound the album is far more brooding than Leviathan and Remission, focusing more on building an enveloping sonic landscape through the use echoing riffs and arpeggios, which draw the listener in to the song. The first track, Oblivion, is a great example of this, featuring Brann, Troy and Brent to sing the verse, pre-chorus and chorus respectively; the overall effect of this is quite stunning, as each of the boys' melodic singing turns effortlessly melt into the next one. Bearing all this in mind, however, the Divinations track which follows is a pure blast of Mastodon paddywhackery, featuring a banjo-sounding intro, classic anguished screaming and a rip-roaring legato solo from Brent. The two songs which for me best encapsulated the mood of the record were The Czar, a song in four parts, which is about Grigori Rasputin (within the context of the album's stroy), and The Last Baron. These two songs are epic in their scope, feature a variety of contrasting heavy and ponderous riffs and spaced-out guitar parts, which overlap and repeat to form an elegant and stunning whole.Overall, Crack the Skye is a genre-defying sonic triumph.

Lyrics — 8
There are two ways which one can look at the lyrics of Crack The Skye. The first is in the immediate sense of each song. In this respect, the lyrics when combined with the music serve to paint an abstract picture, which can conjure up any number of emotions, ranging from hope to fear to deolation and loneliness. The second way (which can actually be combined with the first) is to look at each line in the context of the overarcing story and concept of the album. For example, Oblivion deals with the time when the protaganist's link to his body is burned while on one of his out of body experiences, the Czar deals with Grigori Rasputin on the night of his murder by members of the Russian nobility. However, as standalone tracks they exhibit a sense of desperation and have a decidedly trippy feel. It is this multi-layered effect of the lyrics which gives them their striking nature.

Overall Impression — 10
The overall impression I have of the album is an exceptionally positive one. Mastodon are successfully carving out a position for themselves as the Led Zeppelin of the modern day metal world, crafting albums which spawn a mythology, an aura which the listener feels an ever-growing need to be a part of. Although Mastodon have clearly been influenced by artists both classics and contemporary, it is more in terms of ideology and ethics than sound, as they are a band who constantly sound fresh and unique, an anomaly in a sea of soundalike and trend-following bands.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jables1138
    I saw Mastodon at Mayhem Fest last year, and then proceeded to forget about them. Then when I recently went to a music store, Skye had just been released. I thought I'd take it for a spin and proceeded to have my mind blown by this amazing album. Amazing Riffs and that psychedelic groove left me speechless and on the verge of tears. I also loved the little homage to Rush's YYZ at 60 in The Last Baron.
    Dakkstar
    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.
    I fully disagree.. Tool is far too overrated. Trivium's Shogun, Mastodon's Crack The Skye, Hell even new Metallica is better.
    Caseyz
    Jack_Sibelius wrote: Best metal album? Lateralus and 10.000 Days. Nuff said.
    Not even close. Opiate was their best effort by far. 10,000 days is much too drawn out and I'd much rather listen to Aenima then 10,000 days and Lateralus. They are epic repeats.
    Caseyz
    First and foremost I am from atlanta and saw these guys way back when Blood and Thunder came out. I listen to this cd all the time, it's so progressive and technical. I give a lot more respect to a band that evolves and they most definitely have. The Last Baron is so epic and powerful. My favorite cd of 09.
    JJ-5
    6stringz89 wrote: The Czar is the best song, imo
    6stringz89 wrote: I agree. The czar is amazing! Mastodon are quite simply just ****in awesome! hear hear! lol The Czar is the best song, imo
    barge1
    it is really good, but that last review does make a point about the rhythm section kind of missing. oh, and brents vocals suck live. just letting everyone know, he mumbled his way through the songs and did some really off key high pitched stuff.
    Jester InFlames
    jamie_hough wrote: 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...
    errrr. He just liked more the album than you. If it would be his favourite band an album so different from the others, would't blow his mind that much. This is a subjective thing. But music has objective aspects as well of course. He just sorted them out and showed the intensity of it's effect. It's that simple. I'm sick of all the blind guys out there whojust go in the thinking process to one part and stop because they enjoy to have one argument and sound right while having tonns of uncharted arguments on the other side
    mtllica
    This album is outstanding! I need to get some money together so I can go out and but it soon!
    Jester InFlames
    amazing. With high chances going to be on my final list in the year. i remember i was waiting like a ..... when i knew they re gonna make this album and bought it. like at the opening of the shop. Maybe i was the first to get it in my country .
    mustainex2000
    well...Ive been listening to it for a month...& I just cant get tired of it, I found it ****inawesome, psycodelic, f***n hard, progressive, weird vocals, distorted arpeggios...and nice song structures...this guys are achieving the god metal status with this kind of work...hope they continue with this path...hopefully they dont make a "distubed" kind of record. XD
    fuji311
    This album is nothing short of legendary. I've been listening to it for weeks. Those who say it lacks power don't understand musical evolution. Why do you want a band to crank out the same sounds over and over anyway? If you're looking for consistency, go listen to Korn or Kid Rock or something that requires as little talent to play as it does brain cells to write. Mastodon + Severe head trauma = Crack the Skye. So, so good.
    twisted_freak
    DANZIG767 wrote: i wanna get really stoned and listen to this album, i bet it would be amazing
    it IS :p
    jonnyharris1
    Ive had it weeks and still cant stop listening to it, I hope people make some tabs soon! By god the last baron is a journey of an amazing song
    mcfreaki
    randyaintdead82 wrote: gaaahhhh i have no money to but it GOD DAMMIT!!!!! who wants to give me money???
    buy it now, it's more important and better than life itself. you may go hungry for a little while, but it'll all be worth it.
    your^consience
    man this album just keeps getting better and better with every listen. I love those albums that take a little while man they always last forever. mad album I love the last baron
    mtllica
    mtllica wrote: This album is outstanding! I need to get some money together so I can go out and but it soon!
    *buy (lol)
    FearOfTheDuck
    I wasn't a fan of Mastodon until this album. I fell asleep listening to it and i had the weirdest creppiest dream. I thought this guy was trying to kill me, but no one believed me and i was in my secondary school for some reason, and it was all misty and hazey. And i thought i was going crazy and i looked at myself in a dirty mirror and my face was all messed up and stretched and cracked. Genius album!