Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Crack the Skye
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Metal
Mastodon has taken hold of the leadership of the New Wave of Progressive Heavy Metal. The band's 2006 major-label debut Blood Mountain spun off a Grammy nomination and earned Top 5 Best Album Of The Year nods from Kerrang!... more »
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Mastodon has taken hold of the leadership of the New Wave of Progressive Heavy Metal. The band's 2006 major-label debut Blood Mountain spun off a Grammy nomination and earned Top 5 Best Album Of The Year nods from Kerrang!, Revolver, and Metal Hammer, and a Top 10 at Rolling Stone. Now Crack The Skye, its fourth original studio album, mines subject matter from czarist Russia and astral travel to out-of-body experiences and Stephen Hawking's theories on wormholes for an unrepentantly heavy aural assault that will shake the heavens.
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Member CD Reviews
Jean M. (mcguire5) from CHARLOTT HALL, MD
Reviewed on 3/9/2010...
Amazing! Get this! Check out an earlier album, then this second (to get a full taste of Mastodon!) I have all their albums and this is solidly their best so far! The Czar and the title track are easily worth the price of the cd itself but the rest of the album is awesome as well. Their are many layers to this album! Dont just listen once keep listening there is something new each time!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
CRACK THE SKULL!
Murat Batmaz | Istanbul, Turkey | 03/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Without getting into the debate as to whether Crack the Skye is Mastodon's best album to date, one would be wise to just point out its differences, both strengths and shortcomings, and leave it to the fans to do the ranking.
On first listen, Crack the Skye will immediately stand out for its easily noticeable absence of screamed vocals. Troy Sanders uses his clean voice on almost all the tunes, with very few exceptions. Without doubt, it will take some time to get used to his style, but repeat listens only serve to solidify one's opinion that the songs on this disc have been composed in such a style to sound much better with this approach. Pain-ridden vocals pop up only to provide contrast to the more melodious direction taken in spots. The chorus on "Ghost of Karelia", for instance, proves all the more powerful as the vocals shift from the mostly clean style to somewhat aggressive outbursts.
The guitar tandem of Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher lend the songs a solid, unbreakable facade, which elevates them to a whole new level. From the apocalyptic opening chords of "Oblivion", chock full of despondent riffs and rock-based guitar solos; to the calculated riffery of "Divinations", they implant dynamics to the compositions through and through. Rather than entirely focusing on heavy, punishing jackhammer riffery, this time around they also utilise progressive metal-like jam sessions and blues-inflected passages. As a result, the constant shifting of dynamics on "Quintessence" renders the tune more creative and interesting.
The ten-minute epic "The Czar" is built upon flawless songwriting and mood construction. Broken down into four parts, it launches into an unadulterated groove from the mellow "Usurper" to "Escape", though the vocal melody on this one is not among Mastodon's best. With "Martyr," things retreat back to clean acoustic lines before picking up the trademark Mastodon riffs and seguing into a wonderful blues-inflected solo.
Scott Kelly from the amazing Neurosis continues the tradition to guest on Mastodon discs (he also sang on Leviathan and Blood Mountain) and appears on the title track, among the album's most progressive pieces as it strangely recalls 90's King Crimson in the way the guitars have been arranged. The guitar solo on this track is among the best ever!
As stated above, how Crack the Skye will rank in Mastodon's catalog remains to be seen. However, from a production standpoint, it is by far the band's best-sounding album. It was produced by the great Brendan O'Brien whose resume includes all kinds of different artists, from Pearl Jam to Stone Temple Pilots to Bruce Springsteen to AC/DC to Aerosmith to name but a few. O'Brien has managed to create a dense album with many layers, thick guitar tapestries, and heavy, solid drum and bass battery. He was also unafraid to render sound effects on Sanders' voice with great results.
The album title is a homage to drummer Brann Dailor's sister Skye Dailor who committed suicide at the age of 14, so this is obviously among the more personal musical statements of the band.
The Skye is Falling
doomsdayer520 | Pennsylvania | 03/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mastodon's last album (Blood Mountain) displayed their nastiest chops ever, but got a bit showoff-ish and self-indulgent. But now Mastodon is dead serious, and Crack the Skye is no laughing matter, lyrically or musically. A convoluted lyrical concept about space travel and czarist Russia is actually a cover for Mastodon's most haunting thoughts ever, inspired by the childhood death of Brann Dailor's sister and the recent severe head injury suffered by Brent Hinds. The band's music is becoming less flashy and more dramatic, played with an epic grandeur that easily becomes bigger than the sum of its parts. The four players have surrendered to the sound, with less hot-dogging and more teamwork. Even the monstrously hyper Dailor on drums has slowed things down a bit, reminding the listener less of a speed demon and more of a coiled snake. The vocals are more in tune with the mood of the music, and this album's lyrics are surprisingly deep and introspective. Mastodon have surely become big-thinking and forward-looking pure musicians.
All of the above has given Mastodon the biggest and most compelling sound in modern metal, and this album is sonically imposing and unforgiving from the first note. They even make a banjo sound ominous at the beginning of "Divinations." Epic grooves and jarring time shifts add to the success of the rifftastic "Quintessence" and the especially disturbing "Ghost of Karelia." And after dozens of listens I'm still trying to comprehend the two 10+ minute epics "The Czar" and "The Last Baron" and I know that these tracks will unveil new musical surprises for months and even years to come. And that's what makes this not just Mastodon's best album yet but also one of the best metal albums in recent memory. It will surely reward repeated listens. Mastodon's huge sounds and huge thoughts have come together in terrifying ways. [~doomsdayer520~]"