Crack the Skye is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Mastodon, released on March 24, 2009 through Reprise Records. The album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200, selling 41,000 copies in its first week. In Australia, the album debuted at number 19. It had sold 200,000 copies in the US as of September 2010, making it one of their highest selling albums to date.
According to an interview on the DVD The Making of Crack the Skye, this album represents the element of aether, which is represented by the souls and spirits of all things, a theme closely related to the context of the album. Because the elements of fire, water and earth have already represented by the band’s first three albums Remission, Leviathan and Blood Mountain, respectively, the element of air is the only classical element which has yet to be represented by a Mastodon album, as their follow-up studio albums The Hunter and Once More ‘Round The Sun do not represent an element, nor are they concept albums.
Crack the Skye is the first studio album to feature drummer Brann Dailor as the band’s third lead vocalist.
Oblivion—-Slow and trudging at the onset, you can feel the music and the tempo building and building as the song progresses. The sounds seem to come from everywhere….the the track really opens up with a huge bright sound and an incredible vocal. The sound of this track is indeed a bit lighter and airy…..but the intensity and dirty feel of the band is still intact. Really nice.
Divinations—-An odd intro, the song really does not connect with me at first…it is indeed fitting my definition of Stoner Rock. I keep thinking of Ozzy when I hear certain snippets of the vocal….at times the song has an endearing clarity……other times it is off on its own groove….leading me down a less enjoyable path. The melody line is strong though…and always present.
Quintessence—-Right from the onset, this surprises me…the feel is huge….epic and well constructed. I love the sounds that are everywhere. The drums are incredible…the guitars lead a nice pace and the vocal is a nice mix of modern and throwback sounds. really great song….perhaps one of my favorites. The many moods the band can conjure…all in one track.
The Czar : Usurper / Escape / Martyr / Spiral—-Epic is scope at almost 11 minutes in length, you can be sure that you will be led on a journey of sounds and movements as this opus continues to conclusion. The onset is pleasant enough….full of electricity and bright guitars. The drums are very present yet a bit understated. The vocal enters and you feel almost like this is a direct continuation from the previous track that you just heard….there is little variance at the beginning. The track…as you would assume takes us through ‘movements’, mini songs if you will….and the instrumentation does change in tone…but still keeps the melody line that began the whole thing. am I the only person that is reminded of Black Sabbath when I listen to this band. This is brilliant…..
Ghost Of Karelia—-Bright and experimental in sound at the onset, the track grows and grows as it progresses. I like the rhythm section of the song…but this has all taken on the shape of one huge long song for me. The musical themes, if you will, all sound familiar…like it is just one huge long story. I already know that band is brilliant….please surprise me guys….this sounds like the 11 minute song I just listened to!
Crack The Skye—-It seems…..with this track that we come full circle once again…the musical and lyrical themes seem to repeat and conclude. This is a trudging track……but there are bright guitar parts that peak and keep my interest. The vocal is a bit more gruff and electric……interspersed by a clean, melodic voice that threatens to sit in your brain for a bit before it leaves you. This is a really, really nice track….my favorite on this release.
The Last Baron—-Ending the release much as it all began, the movements on this song are really incredible. I like this band the more I experience them…..I have never been a die-hard fan. This has grown on me….by far the band’s most polished and well produced record thus far. I am left with a good taste in my mouth and a slight thirst for more.
**** out of 5