Now, listen to the master of music reviews: your good friend, Speedy.
My brother has always been into Mastodon, but nothing really interested me about them. Back then I only listened to Red Hot Chili Peppers and restricted amounts of songs of Drowning Pool and The Mars Volta; my interests of progressive music sparked when I was introduced to Porcupine Tree’s album: Deadwing. I listened to the rest of the band’s discography and my musical horizon widened into Metal and more Prog. I was introduced to metal with SOiL and Soilwork; later going onto bands like Killswitch Engage and In Flames. My cousin then told me to listen to Mastodon. Oh how I thank him. Mastodon has been a revelation to me. It’s sort of a really cool Prog/Metal fusion.
I decided to listen to this album first for some reason, and I’m glad I did. The first song, Oblivion introduced me to the awesomeness as the perfect intro to an album like this. The album has a strange, sort of surreal feel of it, the sound of the guitar expertly jeering through it; blending with the slurry vocals of Brent Hinds, creating a very unique sound. The bass work is powerful and carries the main melodies, bringing dark heaviness to it; when this is played along with the guitar with power chords it sounds brilliant. With this, a different sound is created from what I said before: this one being a slightly thrashy, heavy sound with prevalent drums – usually with the shouting vocals of Troy Sanders. They show brilliant ability to do many Metal music styles and those of Prog throughout the whole album – they also show that they can do both at the same time very well. In accordance, the voices of each singer are swapped around fittingly and their unique voices are made the most of; I think that the band’s previous albums and The Hunter haven’t been able to do that to the same effect as Crack the Skye.
The album is generally more progressive than most of their works (other than maybe Blood Mountain) and is the defining point in the band’s unique discography. It removes the unrelenting experiments of Blood Mountain – proving that they were right in saying it was a “work in progress” – and develops upon its excellent qualities, mixing it a little with some of the raw heaviness of Leviathan: making it their best album and my favourite Progressive Metal album.
Crack the Skye only has on it 7 songs, less than Blood Mountain, but the songs are generally longer. It is a good thing, though, because they can then be progressive masterpieces building towards a crescendo of rocking chords and great melodies; or simply being brilliant Metal songs – as I said, the band does both well. A thing I also like about the songs is that they don’t necessarily have a set tone or ‘set play’ as you may call it – a little like another band I like, August Burns Red – but some of their songs have great choruses, you don’t quite know what to expect. I feel the album is the perfect representation of the band and what their music is, and how good it is. Also, the fact that it has 7 songs is a good thing because Mastodon tend to – although their music is absolutely brilliant – get a bit lost towards the end of the album (I don’t know why – they just do). This album is fantastically simple, but then quite complex at the same time – this is what good Prog bands do. And then that Prog is mixed with thumping Metal; which makes it all the more great.
The album has within it some incredible songs, especially The Czar: I. Usurper – II. Escape – III. Martyr – IV. Spiral and The Last Baron (which ends the album perfectly); these songs symbolize the album and represent the qualities of it in their best form: they’re what I call masterpieces (in their genre).
PS. It’s recorded well; the bass is prominent throughout and the guitar work is all fantastic. And there’s a sort of effect that leaves you feeling like you’ve been hypnotized. People who aren’t fans of Prog won’t like it.
Crack the Skye is the perfect example of Progressive Metal and the best Mastodon album to date. It shows their fantastic musical ability, showing off brilliant progressive music and some incredible Metal: and mixing the two together fantastically. Mastodon’s masterpiece and one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.
So I give it: 98/100.