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Mastodon - Crack The Skye Album Cover

Mastodon - Crack The Skye

Reviewed by
8.8
MastodonCrack The Skye
Release Date: March 24, 2009
Record Label: Reprise/Relapse
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
The other night I was casually perusing the album review database and noticed a significant deficiency in Mastodon reviews. Such a shame too, since the Atlanta-based quartet is one of best American metal bands making music today. Incorporating air-tight musicianship with blazing vocals, the band has been a staple within metal crowds since their 2002 debut, Remission. And just like that album and the two that followed it (2004’s Leviathan and 2006’s Blood Mountain) followed a specific concept, their latest work. Crack The Skye, has woven a story into their complex musical schemes.

On Crack The Syke, Mastodon paints the picture of astral travel, out of body experiences, and Stephen Hawking’s theories on wormholes. Even deeper than that is the tribute that the band pays to Skye Dailor, drummer Brann Dailor’s sister who committed suicide at the age of 14. With those themes in mind, the band’s experimental sound reach new heights on Skye. The seven track 50-minute long album explores through space with more atmospherics. While the band still mashes your brains out, they also take a step back to notice their surroundings.

Troy Sanders uses a lot more clean vocals than ever before, and it shows on album opener “Oblivion,” as the guitars are the driving force behind the track. “Divinations” is a barnburner, as it begins with guitarist Brent Hinds noodling on a banjo before the song kicks into high gear. Sanders employs grittier vocals while Dailor, whom is one of the best drummers I’ve ever heard, completely dominates the song behind the kit. The transition from the thrash of the verses to the melody of the chorus is majestic. Throw in some awesome riffing from Bill Kelliher and Hinds, and you have yourself a hit. “Quintessence” will needle in and out of your skull, and the chorus will incite the riot within.

The tracks that stand out the most are the two ten minute opuses that appear on Skye. “The Czar” is nearly eleven minutes long; utilizing four parts within the track (Usurper, Escape, Martyr, and Spiral). It’s a huge song ranging from mid-tempo sludge to arena-sized guitar riffs. The track is only outdone by thirteen minute closer “The Baron,” which wraps up the concept and album beautifully. “The Baron” is basically a final travel through the galaxy of Skye, as it begins calmy, even gently, before piledriving you into a table with crashing cymbals and unforgiving guitar parts. The song is vibrant and keeps you on your toes the entire time.

With Crack The Skye, Mastodon proves they aren’t just going to churn out the same album time after time. This isn’t a “run of the mill” metal album, rather it’s an album with huge cajones that challenges the listener to delve deeper in their metal. While the clean vocals might throw some fans off (they still throw me off), they are not a detriment to the musical mastery shown throughout the album. You’ll be hard pressed to find musicians as talented as these guys. Combine that with the pristine production of Brendan O’Brien and you have some delicious ear candy. Crack The Skye is an album you can enjoy blasting in the car with the windows down as well as with your headphones, listening to all the neat quirks and technicalities of the record. Crack open your boundaries and explore the ethereal world with Mastodon.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Oblivion
2. Divinations
3. Quintessence
4. The Czar: I. Usurper – II. Escape – III. Martyr – IV. Spiral
5. Ghost of Karelia
6. Crack The Skye
7. The Last Baron
Produced by: Brendon O’Brien

Mastodon is:
Troy Sanders – vocals. Bass
Brent Hinds – guitar, vocals
Bill Kelliher – guitar
Brann Dailor – drums

Official Website; Official Myspace

 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 42
07:53 AM on 04/23/09
#2
EndSerenading
we were born for battle
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I really like this band's previous efforts, but I just cannot get into this particular album for some reason :/ I got it and gave it a few spins, set it aside, brought it back out and did the same thing again. I'll probably let some time go by before I give it another shot. I'm not sure exactly what it has been about this new album but it just hasnt clicked with me.

That being said, I definitely don't want to discourage people from listening to it as I know plenty of people who love it. And for some of you, if this is the first album you have heard by them and you don't like it, give some of their other albums a listen. As Drew said, they don't put out the same album over and over so you can't judge them as a band by one album.
07:57 AM on 04/23/09
#3
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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I really like this band's previous efforts, but I just cannot get into this particular album for some reason :/ I got it and gave it a few spins, set it aside, brought it back out and did the same thing again. I'll probably let some time go by before I give it another shot. I'm not sure exactly what it has been about this new album but it just hasnt clicked with me.

That being said, I definitely don't want to discourage people from listening to it as I know plenty of people who love it. And for some of you, if this is the first album you have heard by them and you don't like it, give some of their other albums a listen. As Drew said, they don't put out the same album over and over so you can't judge them as a band by one album.
yeah I can definitely understand it taking time to get into. Why do you think it took me so long to write this review? haha
08:04 AM on 04/23/09
#4
EndSerenading
we were born for battle
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haha true, true. It wouldnt be the first time I haven't gotten into an album at first, shelved it, and came back several months later to really dig it. So I haven't given up hope yet!

A good example of this for me is when The Get Up Kids released "On A Wire"...came outta left field kinda and I was lukewarm on it. But when I finally pulled that back out somewhere down the line I loved it, and several years later I still really enjoy it.
08:17 AM on 04/23/09
#5
Holly HoX!
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I'm not a big metal head, but I'm really curious about these guys because they seem to be everywhere. I'll be checking this out.
08:31 AM on 04/23/09
#6
Keagan Ilvonen
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I still need to check this album out. Good job though Drew.
08:39 AM on 04/23/09
#7
FaceLixeMurder
Amplitude!
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When I am in a store their records always catch my eye, that's how I got into them when they put out Blood Mountain.
09:14 AM on 04/23/09
#8
from debris
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the day the entire cd was streaming on myspace, i was all in. it is a great cd and i can't recommend it enough.
do yourself a favor and listen to it all the way through (if you can find the time)
09:18 AM on 04/23/09
#9
Smooz
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This is an incredible album. Its definitely a major factor in 2009 being the best year for metal we've had in a long time.
09:42 AM on 04/23/09
Melkor
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Such a good album. Great review Drew, completely agree that this band has balls to keep releasing such ambitious albums and nailing it every time.
09:44 AM on 04/23/09
batmannj
"No more half measures Walt"
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Excellent review. I think this album broke me through on Mastodon. It's really good.
10:29 AM on 04/23/09
Poochemist
Not that easy to confuse
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Nice review, Drew. I have never really tried listening to Mastodon, but they have a huge visibility in the scene and I think it's about time that I gave them a chance.
10:44 AM on 04/23/09
starseed
pen?
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Mastodon is one of those bands I absolutely respect as musicians, think they are incredibly talented, creative, and progressive, but I just cannot for the life of me enjoy their music. It's not for me. It's for other people, and God bless them.
11:00 AM on 04/23/09
live4music
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Mastodon is one of those bands I absolutely respect as musicians, think they are incredibly talented, creative, and progressive, but I just cannot for the life of me enjoy their music. It's not for me. It's for other people, and God bless them.
That's how I felt til this album. Still not crazy about the vocals though
11:10 AM on 04/23/09
secthagoals626
Can't Wait For Those Relations!
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This review captures the album so perfecctly. Great job!

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