Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mastodon - Crack The Skye (2009)

This album is one of the most moving, most inspiring, most amazing albums I have ever heard in my life. Mastodon, the progressive heavy metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, has returned with what may be their best work yet. Their new album, “Crack The Skye,” reaches further into the universe than any of their previous albums have ever gone. It tells a story about a paraplegic who uses astral travel to go where ever he wants in the universe. However, when he gets lost in space after being separated by his golden umbilical cord, Rasputin’s soul is sent to help him find his way back to his body before the boys’ parents bury him, thinking is has passed away. Check out the lyrics to learn what happens.

So, “Crack The Skye” opens with what is known as their first single off the album, called “Oblivion.” What a great opener to this album. The verses are all sung by the drummer, Brann Dailor, who delivers such a dark, outer space like feeling that really puts you into the story. Not to mention Dailor’s drum fills are just incredible. The chorus to the track is sung by lead guitarist, Brent Hinds, who carries such a unique, distinctive voice; one that cannot be forgotten. He also does the amazing dirty work on the guitar solos, something I, for one, can never get enough of. This is just another one of those songs that you wish were longer than the 5 minutes that it is because it is just so damn good!

The second single chosen off of “Crack The Skye” is “Divinations,” which is also the second track listed on the album. This song leans a little bit more towards their older style, from their previous album “Blood Mountain.” The guitar rifts are heavy and are accompanied by more aggressive vocals. Very cool effects on the guitar solo in the middle of this song.

As you’re listening through the album, you’ll come across a nice little 11 minute song called “The Czar: Usurper/Escape/Martyr/Spiral.” This explains the side story to Rasputin and how he comes into play with helping the boy back to his body. The structure to this song breaks up into 4 mini songs combined into one. I love the creativity of the instrumental melodies and how they collide with the vocals. It begins with a dark keyboard melody, which is followed by a bass melody that is the main backbone of part one. The verse comes in with ominous vocals that really pull you into song, almost like you're being hypnotized. About 4 minutes in, the song shifts to a faster tempo and catchy vocals. There are constant drum fills leading perfectly into every section of every verse. Towards the end, Hinds fills the gaps between the verses with some outstanding solos. You’re definitely going to have to play this one again to catch every little detail thrown at you.

As sad as you’ll be when you reach the last track, don’t worry. You’ve got 13 more minutes of amazing music to enjoy, which is also plenty of time to grab the mouse and set your iTunes to "Repeat all". “The Last Baron” is astounding in every way possible. The lyrics and vocals will absolutely blow your mind. Every line and every note has so much meaning, and really tops off the album. This is definitely another one of those tracks that you’ll have to go back and listen to a couple of times in order to take everything in.

It starts off calm and eerie while Hinds begins to sing. Basic chords are intertwined with amazing drum fills that really build up the beginning of this epic masterpiece. About 3 minutes into the song, the tempo increases, as it throws rapid distortion. The change in structure really keeps you hooked. The song is also filled with guitar shredding solos that are just absolutely phenomenal. Around the 8 minute mark, they use a reverse reverb effect on the vocals that really give you that trippy "space travel" feeling. The images that the song creates are incredible and provide such an unreal experience.

“Crack The Skye” holds a lot of meaning within the lyrics and even within the album cover. Mastodon clearly put a lot of personal feelings into this album and have really out done themselves. This is by far, a top ten favorite in my book!


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1 comment:

  1. Definitely an awesome album, but it's a shame that it's so technically enhanced that they usually don't do too well when doing the album live. I've heard a lot of dumpy performances of it. Still one of the best albums this past decade.