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Crack the Skye

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Album Review

First off, a warning: the best way to encounter Mastodon's Crack the Skye for the first time is with headphones. Reported to be a mystical — if crunchy — concept record about Tsarist Russia, this is actually the most involved set of tracks, both in terms of music and production, the band has ever recorded. "Ambitious" is a word that regularly greets Mastodon — after all, they did an entire album based on Moby Dick — but until now, that adjective may have been an understatement. There is so much going on in these seven tracks that it's difficult to get it all in a listen or two (one of the reasons that close encounters of the headphone kind are recommended). It may seem strange that the band worked with Bruce Springsteen producer Brendan O'Brien this time out, but it turns out to be a boon for both parties: for the band because O'Brien is obsessive about sounds, textures, and finding spaces in just the right places; for O'Brien because in his work with the Boss he's all but forgotten what the sounds of big roaring electric guitars and overdriven thudding drums can sound like. The guitar arrangements on tracks like "Divinations" and "The Czar," while wildly different from one another, are the most intricate, melodically complex things the band has ever recorded. There are also more subtle moments such as the menacing, brooding, and ultimately downer cuts such as "The Last Baron," where tempos are slowed and keyboards enter the fray and stretch the time, adding a much more multidimensional sense of atmosphere and texture. Still, Crack the Skye rocks, and hard! Its shifting tempos and key structures are far more meaty and forceful than most prog metal, and menace and cosmological speculation exist in equal measure, providing for a spot-on sense of balance. Some of the hardcore death metal conservatives may have trouble with this set, but the album wasn't recorded for them — or anybody else. Crack the Skye is the sound of a band stretching itself to its limits and exploring the depth of its collective musical identity as a series of possibilities rather than as signatures. And yes, that is a good thing.

Customer Reviews

lost in oblivion...

This album rocks! The guitars in this album are just amazing. I've learnt how to play oblivion and its great. The lyrics are very deep too. Drumming wise, its exceptional! Definatly worth the buy. I thought that The Last Baron was too repetetive however- starts off as a great song then drmamtically changes into pretty much another song. That explains why its so large (13 mins lol). Favourite songs are Oblivion, Divinations (the Score version is great too), Quintessence and Crack The Skye. 5 stars!

Not as heavy as I would like, but still a good album.

As the title says; it's not as heavy as I would like. I'm a major fan of their previous releases but this album is growing on me.


Phenomenal.. Rare an artist exceeds expectations that are already (excuse the pun) skye high but i'm blown away..


Formed: 1999 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Atlanta-based sludge/stoner/alternative metal outfit Mastodon formed in 1999 around the talents of guitarist Bill Kelliher, drummer Bränn Dailor, bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, and guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds. One of the more notable New Wave of American Heavy Metal acts, a genre spawned in the mid-'90s by bands like Pantera, Biohazard, and Machine Head, Mastodon's innovative, lyrically astute blend of progressive metal, grindcore, and hardcore helped position the band as one of the preeminent...
Full Bio
Crack the Skye, Mastodon
View In iTunes
  • $18.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Hard Rock, Metal
  • Released: 03 December 2008

Customer Ratings