Mastodon - Crack The Skye review



Reviewer:
9.0

1106 users:
8.74
Band: Mastodon
Album: Crack The Skye
Release date: March 2009


Disc I [CD]
01. Oblivion
02. Divinations
03. Quintessence
04. The Czar
    1 - Usurper
    2 - Escape
    3 - Martyr
    4 - Spiral
05. Ghost Of Karelia
06. Crack The Skye
07. The Last Baron

Disc II [Limited Edition DVD]
+ Making Of "Crack The Skye"
+ Track-By-Track Band Commentary
+ Photo Gallery


Crack the Skye, the new opus from the Atlanta, Georgia quartet is an absolutely stunning release.

The band continued the sort of 'elemental' theme that has been present in their last couple releases, Remission (Fire), Leviathan (Water, duh), and Blood Mountain (Earth). Now, with Crack the Skye, the supposed fourth element, Air is represented.

The album itself centers around the concept story of a paraplegic who engages in astral travel, who, like Icarus, passes too close to the Sun - which severs his connection with his mortal body and leaves him floating around the universe. Russian monks set in Tsarist Russia encounter this soul while using him in a divination, and after hearing of his plight, implant him in Rasputin's body… when Rasputin is slain, he can guide the lost soul back to his body.

The album is not as heavy as its predecessors, a shift which some may attribute to commercial motives. However, when one looks at other metal bands whose names begin with "M" who made a shift in their sound to appeal to the commercial audience, they did so by softening and simplifying the music. While Crack the Skye is not nearly as pummeling as Leviathan, it's certainly not simplified into radio-friendly tunes.

Mastodon somehow manage to play tunes that capture the sort of etherealness that one would expect on an album with an astral travel rooted theme, but simultaneously have a degree of density to them. There is a lot going on, yet somehow it all fits. Their evolutionary path follows the same trajectory as bands like Enslaved and Nachtmystium, which have unleashed their inner 70's prog fan and allowed it to influence their current stylings. Songs are expansive and very atmospheric - the album is not entirely digestible in one listen, each subsequent spin through the cd tray will reveal previously undiscovered pieces to the musical puzzle. It's definitely a grower.

If you have your heart set on something that sounds like Remission, you will be disappointed. If you're willing to accept a softening of the sound for sake of walking down avenues previously unexplored, you might find Crack the Skye right up your alley.

For those still interested, I'd highly recommend purchasing the special version that includes the "Making of…" DVD. It's an entertaining watch, and seeing the thought processes involved in the creation of this record will certainly deepen your appreciation of it.

Favorite Tracks - "Quintessence" (I love the heavy riff/chorus that comes slamming in) and "Crack the Skye" with the guest appearance of Neurosis' Scott Kelly and his unmistakable roar. That said, thanks to the story and flow, this album is one of those that is better listened to from start 'til finish rather than popping up from time to time on your iPod's shuffle function.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 



Written on 11.04.2009 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.


Comments page 3 / 3

Comments: 64   Visited by: 608 users
13.11.2009 - 21:42
DoomGuard
Written by distorted rage on 13.09.2009 at 13:36

Good album, but a bit overrated imo. The vocals are the weak link to me.

I'd have to disagree my friend, i haven't liked any Mastodon until they released this album, the vocals did a big part of drawing me in, but if your a long time Mastodon fan then i have no place speaking for this is their only spectacular album imo
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12.12.2009 - 19:59
!Mac!
Written by DoomGuard on 13.11.2009 at 21:42

Written by distorted rage on 13.09.2009 at 13:36

Good album, but a bit overrated imo. The vocals are the weak link to me.

I'd have to disagree my friend, i haven't liked any Mastodon until they released this album, the vocals did a big part of drawing me in, but if your a long time Mastodon fan then i have no place speaking for this is their only spectacular album imo


Blood Mountain and Leviathan are really good records. But you're right -- this is the first Mastodon record to take it to another level. It's a sign of what's to come. They could be on the verge of being the best in metal for the next decade.
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06.02.2010 - 15:26
Panterica
Written by Uirapuru on 20.06.2009 at 15:58

Quote:
when one looks at other metal bands whose names begin with "M" who made a shift in their sound to appeal to the commercial audience, they did so by softening and simplifying the music..


Smooth LOL


Yeah, Really good one
----
Li'ed - Prog-Metal from Jerusalem
https://www.facebook.com/LiedBandMusic
http://lied-band.bandcamp.com/
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06.02.2010 - 15:27
Panterica
Written by DoomGuard on 13.11.2009 at 21:42

Written by distorted rage on 13.09.2009 at 13:36

Good album, but a bit overrated imo. The vocals are the weak link to me.

I'd have to disagree my friend, i haven't liked any Mastodon until they released this album, the vocals did a big part of drawing me in, but if your a long time Mastodon fan then i have no place speaking for this is their only spectacular album imo


Same here, before this album I didn't like them at all, but now after hearing this I'll give them another shot
----
Li'ed - Prog-Metal from Jerusalem
https://www.facebook.com/LiedBandMusic
http://lied-band.bandcamp.com/
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