Crack the Skye

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/24/2009
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • UPC: 093624987222
  • Catalog Number: 459132
  • Sales rank: 21,603

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
Bob Ludwig Mastering, Remastering
Brendan O'Brien Producer, Audio Production
Billy Bowers Engineer
Doug Hill Engineer
Scott Kelly Lyricist
Mastodon Composer
Paul Romano Artwork
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing progressive metal CD, but rather challenging listening...

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews