Mastodon – Crack the Skye [Review]

Crack the Skye is the fifth full-length release from Georgian Heavy/Progressive metallers Mastodon. This being their fourth release with Relapse Records. Crack the Skye was released globally on March 24.

Mastodon crack the skye album cover

It’s hard to find words that haven’t already been said about a Mastodon album this far, but Crack the Skye has presented listeners with an even more broad and lofty soundscape to enjoy and talk about that simply commands something new to be said. Having given many listens to each of Mastodon’s previous albums, Crack the Skye is not very surprising in terms of the direction, or the sound really, but the presentation and quality are simply beyond measure. Even the most simple and minute sounds on this album act like monoliths of sound.

Seemingly borrowing a bits of post-rock and post-metal styles, there is a lot of atmospheric textures on this album, “The Czar” showing the more prominent examples of this. They maintain this style without forgoing the Mastodon sound so familiar from Blood Mountain and Leviathan. The more coarse vocal approach has taken a bit of a back seat this time however. Mastodon also have many more angular, “twangy” guitar riffs, like those found in excess on Blood Mountain.

As always, Mastodon are technically brilliant with their instruments, most impressively – Brann Dailor on the skins. Using a veritable cornucopia of rhythms, time signatures, fills, etc. he really shows what it means to be a great metal (and even jazz) drummer. If there was ever a doubt in someone’s mind of the skill level of the members of Mastodon, this album should quite adequately quell the negative comments.

There is no doubt in my mind that this album (and band) will go down to be one of the most important metal acts in this decade. With remarkably well written, played, produced, etc. music Mastodon are bringing back a much needed prestige to the American metal scene. Where Americans were frowned upon for breeding the cancer that was Nu Metal, we have started to now be looked upon in a different light, and this album will only solidify the fact that Americans can indeed make great and pure metal.

Track picks: “The Last Baron” and “Oblivion”

Overall Score: 10/10 devil horns

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14 responses to “Mastodon – Crack the Skye [Review]

  1. Well said. The DVD is worth it. Lots of vintage equipment on this record. New Keyboard player. Great album, now it’s Tool’s turn, they’ve been served. Are there any other bands that are operating on the same level of QotSA,Mastodon, Isis, Pelican, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Radiohead, the new King Crimson with Gavin Harrison and Tony Levin and Tool? I’m looking into The Sword.

    Nice blog. Check out my radio station Radio Megalodon on pandora, or on my blog.

    • Thanks for reading.

      Yeah, I can’t see the Sword really being a heavy hitter along with the other acts you mentioned. I think they’re a bit overrated, though I like how they are using a more old-school sound.

  2. progressive slude metalcore bro :p

  3. After listening nonstop to Lamb of God’s Wrath for almost a month straight it was very refreshing to hear Crack the Skye. I purposely banned myself from listening to anything related to the new album just so I could have a fresh and clean impression to it on the first listen. After listening to it for several day now I’ve already championed it as album of the year. Wrath is an amazing album but Crack the Skye is in a whole different head space. I love the story telling aspect, the epic sound through out as if its a grand composure for a “rock opera” so to speak.

    by far my fav track is the opener with Brann on vocals. whoda thunk that the funky drummer had some pipes on him.

    its a 10/10…Instant Classic.

  4. Yeah, I looked into the sword and then I looked away. Like many have said before, High on Fire, does their job for them.

  5. Crack the Skye reminds me of a Who record in some regards. Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, too.

  6. I like “Ghosts”, The Baron, Oblivion, Quintessence, The surfy guitar on Divinations. This is a really solid album, throughout. There are enough ideas for a few records, so many riff nuggets and passages that could have been made into other songs. You have to respect their process after watching the DVD that came with the CD. I really admire bands that aren’t afraid to let their nerd flag fly.

    Maybe I compare to Tool only because 10,000 Days and its subject matter is similar to this record, and I think is an album in the same vein. A little more funky, (Jambi, The Pot), lot’s of risky progrock type behavior that pisses of record execs and makes uncomfortable. Fear of a Blank Planet got ripped off, 10,000 days got ripped of, this Mastodon record might not if they play Oblivion on the “radio”.

  7. You want to hear something crazy good? Get that Steven Wilson record, Insurgentes. Don’t worry, he’ll rock you like a hurricane. Here he is.

  8. This album is a fucking beast. Each listen provides something new to enjoy. They really raised the bar, as usual. The best band, regardless of genre, of the decade as far as I’m concerned.

    Oh, and the haters all owe Brendan O’Brian an apology. He did right by Mastodon. Didn’t turn them into Korn, just gave them the tools they needed.

    We need a Tool/Mastodon tour immediately.

  9. Aubrey pretty much hit the nail on the head. I had been listening to the new Lamb of God continuously as well, but when I heard Crack the Skye I totally switched modes. Wrath is awesome, but no comparison to the depth of CTS. This album is complex not only musically, but lyrically as well. Can’t wait to see the guys play the new stuff live this weekend…

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