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Crack the Skye
     

Crack the Skye

5.0 3
by Mastodon
 

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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

Overview

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/24/2009
Label:
Reprise / Wea
UPC:
0093624987222
catalogNumber:
459132
Rank:
13377

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mastodon   Primary Artist
Richard Morris   Synthesizer,Mellotron
Scott Kelly   Vocals
Bränn Dailor   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Group Member
Troy Sanders   Bass Guitar,Vocals,Synthesizer Bass
Bill Kelliher   Guitar,Group Member
Brent Hinds   Banjo,Guitar,Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Nick DiDia   Engineer
Brendan O'Brien   Producer,Audio Production
Billy Bowers   Engineer
Doug Hill   Engineer
Scott Kelly   Lyricist
Mastodon   Composer
Paul Romano   Artwork

Customer Reviews

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Crack the Skye 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
mlsemon More than 1 year ago
I describe this CD as "Leviathan" (Mastdodon, 2004) meets "Killing Technology" (Voivod, 1987); it is not a remake of or sequel to "Blood Mountain" by any means. Everyone I've asked about it has had to listen to it many times to enjoy it. The CD is not very catchy, the atonal guitar parts are in a few too many places, and the slow parts are long and boring for the first 100 listens...and then it all makes sense. Both "Oblivion" and "Divinations" are rather accessible and fun, with the general sound being somewhere between Zakk-Wylde-era Ozzy Osbourne and that of King Diamond. "The Last Baron" is 13 minutes long or so, and there are a few really nice instrumental sections that more than offset some boring listening here and there. Prepare yourself for a lot of time signature changes throughout the CD. There's a new vocal sound, too, and it's much harder to tell Troy (bass player, smooth voice) apart from Brent (guitar player, that Alice in Chains kind of voice): Sometimes the vocal sound is improved; sometimes the sound seems degraded. Overall, it's rather advanced metal listening in the same vein as Tool's "Lateralus" and requires the same level of patience to enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago