Mastodon - Crack The Skye review
|Album:||Crack The Skye|
|Release date:||March 2009|
Disc I [CD]
04. The Czar
1 - Usurper
2 - Escape
3 - Martyr
4 - Spiral
05. Ghost Of Karelia
06. Crack The Skye
07. The Last Baron
Disc II [Limited Edition DVD]
+ Making Of "Crack The Skye"
+ Track-By-Track Band Commentary
+ Photo Gallery
Crack the Skye, the new opus from the Atlanta, Georgia quartet is an absolutely stunning release.
The band continued the sort of 'elemental' theme that has been present in their last couple releases, Remission (Fire), Leviathan (Water, duh), and Blood Mountain (Earth). Now, with Crack the Skye, the supposed fourth element, Air is represented.
The album itself centers around the concept story of a paraplegic who engages in astral travel, who, like Icarus, passes too close to the Sun - which severs his connection with his mortal body and leaves him floating around the universe. Russian monks set in Tsarist Russia encounter this soul while using him in a divination, and after hearing of his plight, implant him in Rasputin's body… when Rasputin is slain, he can guide the lost soul back to his body.
The album is not as heavy as its predecessors, a shift which some may attribute to commercial motives. However, when one looks at other metal bands whose names begin with "M" who made a shift in their sound to appeal to the commercial audience, they did so by softening and simplifying the music. While Crack the Skye is not nearly as pummeling as Leviathan, it's certainly not simplified into radio-friendly tunes.
Mastodon somehow manage to play tunes that capture the sort of etherealness that one would expect on an album with an astral travel rooted theme, but simultaneously have a degree of density to them. There is a lot going on, yet somehow it all fits. Their evolutionary path follows the same trajectory as bands like Enslaved and Nachtmystium, which have unleashed their inner 70's prog fan and allowed it to influence their current stylings. Songs are expansive and very atmospheric - the album is not entirely digestible in one listen, each subsequent spin through the cd tray will reveal previously undiscovered pieces to the musical puzzle. It's definitely a grower.
If you have your heart set on something that sounds like Remission, you will be disappointed. If you're willing to accept a softening of the sound for sake of walking down avenues previously unexplored, you might find Crack the Skye right up your alley.
For those still interested, I'd highly recommend purchasing the special version that includes the "Making of…" DVD. It's an entertaining watch, and seeing the thought processes involved in the creation of this record will certainly deepen your appreciation of it.
Favorite Tracks - "Quintessence" (I love the heavy riff/chorus that comes slamming in) and "Crack the Skye" with the guest appearance of Neurosis' Scott Kelly and his unmistakable roar. That said, thanks to the story and flow, this album is one of those that is better listened to from start 'til finish rather than popping up from time to time on your iPod's shuffle function.
||Written on 11.04.2009 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.|
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