Sound — 9
A band as heavy and technically skilled as Mastodon were never destined to be a Groove Metal band forever. From the new masters of progressive southern metal comes a fiery debut of a new style. Like a lot of Mastodon's creations, this is a concept album dealing with Astral Travel, alternate dimensions, Imperial Russia, Rasputin and that most lovable of characters, the Devil. This is a complex album that may take a couple of hard listens before you can truly understand the genius behind it. Difficult riffs and eerie atmospheres make up a suprising amount of this album, but that fits, and only serves to further the epicness of this story-by-music. This is an incredible album, and probably one of the best of the year. My only criticism is that its not very accessible to people who haven't heard Progressive Metal or are used to Groove Metal's more straightforward style.
Lyrics — 7
A change-up of singers led to a different sound in the album, but this benefits the change away from heavier forms of metal, towards a more progressive mood. The lyrics are pretty narrative and deal mainly with the story in hand. Thats fine if you want to listen to the whole album from start to finish, but it does mean that various songs lyrics make little sense as singles.
Overall Impression — 8
Obviously there are holes in a lot of progressive albums, usually recurring ones like accessability and song length. Crack the Skye is no different. However, it is a truly remarkable album with some amazing features that take the best of Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock influences from Neurosis, Pink Floyd, Exhorder and The Mars Volta.