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Old August 31st, 2009, 10:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
Victim of Deception
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Mastodon - Crack the Skye

Mastodon - Crack the Skye
Reprise Records - 2009
By Adam McAuley



The number of adventurous twists and turns seems to be heightened yet again as Mastodon take you out for another whirl. The band’s intensity doesn’t seem to have let up and neither has the almost insatiably good drumming which carries the songs into different realms of complexity and enjoyability. Mastodon seem to have a great control over the musical pastures they traverse now and it leads to an album that has a great balance of different stuff. Some of the patterns they throw in verge on exotic type things, though the work doesn’t have an Egyptian feel by any stretch of the imagination.

Crack the Skye is more exciting than I found Leviathan to be, but shows Mastodon stretching their sounds into different territories yet again whilst making it continually more interesting for the listener. A strong cut on here is the opener “Oblivion” which has an excellent chorus and just an energetic mindset to get things going early in the work. As things progress, some of the songs gain a more complex structure and show that Mastodon has indeed found the depth necessary to continue to pull their discography in an upwards trajectory. It’s difficult to say if I like it a lot better than the excellent Remission or Blood Mountain, but believe me that Crack the Skye is at least another in the line of quality works this band is capable of producing.

The next step for the band might be experimentation with other elements and sounds, but for now we have a nice progression of music to the point they’ve reached. The changes the’ve made to their sound have been appropriate and elevated the band’s sound to a new level of quality for all those to adore.

Official Mastodon Website
Official Mastodon My Space
Official Reprise Records Website

Last edited by Victim of Deception : August 31st, 2009 at 11:23 AM.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 08:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Brilliant album. Highly recommended. Brann Dailor has actually toned it down a bit for this album and it fits the music well. His constant fills on the previous albums can get tiring. Nevertheless, all are at the top of their form.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 10:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
circus_brimstone
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My album of the year so far. The best Mastodon record, I think.
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Old September 24th, 2009, 02:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
nick-metalhead
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Best so far.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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absolutely the most overrated record of 2009. and this from someone who thought leviathan and most of blood mountain were brilliant.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
derek
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It's not as good as those two, but it's still pretty superb.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 02:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
Liquid Tension
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absolutely the most overrated record of 2009. and this from someone who thought leviathan and most of blood mountain were brilliant.
The Heaven & Hell record owns the most overrated for 2009....
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Old October 1st, 2009, 09:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
Balphagor
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This album sucks.
The old Mastodon was better.
Mastodon turned into a rock band which shouldn't even be discussed here.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
fps
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The Heaven & Hell record owns the most overrated for 2009....
hahaha really? i avoided it, i thought the reviews sounded like they were overrating it
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Old November 20th, 2009, 06:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
MultipleX
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My album of the year so far. The best Mastodon record, I think.
The concept, the music, the lyrics and the artwork of this album makes it so unique. A masterpiece!
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Old November 25th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #11 (permalink)
beast from the east
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absolutely the most overrated record of 2009.
qft
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 09:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Definitely more prog here than their other albums. People who dislike this are the ones who seem to be disappointed. But this is a fine album, and arguably their best (though it is a very close race, all four Mastodon albums are very good).
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 03:01 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I appreciate their versatility. If you don't like it, fine, but many do so they're doing something right. Calling an album (or a band for that matter) overrated is a wasted effort as it's no more valid than simply stating an opinion, being that some find it to be overrated while others won't.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
fps
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I appreciate their versatility. If you don't like it, fine, but many do so they're doing something right. Calling an album (or a band for that matter) overrated is a wasted effort as it's no more valid than simply stating an opinion, being that some find it to be overrated while others won't.
no this isn't true. if you want to reduce everything to "opinion" then you could say there's nothing real being said anywhere in the world. you could say barack obama, salman rushdie or the dalai lama's opinions matter as much as yours or mine, when they are all vastly more intelligent and experienced in their fields than we are.

this album is not going to be looked back on in years to come as a classic, i fervently believe. the songwriting isn't all that, they lurch from riff to riff, that's not prog at all. the first song is a case in point. they move from rhythm to rhythm, the chorus crashes uglily with everything that's gone before time sig wise. great changes of time sig can happen, but these two bits feel welded on to each other. if you like your music as a selection of "bits", then ok, but that kind of patchwork "let's just stick this bit here now" style very rarely turns into really good writing. mastodon have prog influences but calling them a prog band is a real stretch. the vocal hooks aren't as strong as in previous albums. as the album goes on, it gradually falls apart into a series of sections. and the lyrics are really, truly terrible.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 07:48 AM   #15 (permalink)
Livingfree
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no this isn't true. if you want to reduce everything to "opinion" then you could say there's nothing real being said anywhere in the world. you could say barack obama, salman rushdie or the dalai lama's opinions matter as much as yours or mine, when they are all vastly more intelligent and experienced in their fields than we are.
This really depends on what topic they are speaking of that would make their opinion more valid. Not to mention the opinion on something is still just an opinion no matter how well informed they are.
For instance, your definition of "opinion" would cause a paradox in a situation where two politicians with the same level of education have differing opinions.

We have to recognize the difference between facts and opinions. You seem to think that one persons opinion might be more valid that another in certain situations. The only time this MIGHT be the case is if you have someone who is vastly uneducated about the topic at hand (if, in fact it were a situation where knowledge is a factor).


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this album is not going to be looked back on in years to come as a classic, i fervently believe.
That may be the case, then again, it's really hard to say what albums will be remembered in the future. Frankly, I have a tendency to believe that most modern music will lack the timelessness of music we now consider classics.

Either way, it doesn't change the fact that calling something "overrated" is an attempt at making an opinion sound as if it possesses more validity. If I think it's not overrated how is my opinion any less valid?

People seem to lack the ability to accept differing opinions as being equal to their own because we like to view ourselves as being superior to others.

This is something I learned a long time ago. I remember back in the day when I used to have trouble accepting other types of music. I always thought I was very open-minded as well, odd how I now look back and realize what a turd I had been about a lot of different things. Sadly, that seems to be a mindset that is very prevalent in the metal community.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 10:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Very good album. Best of 09, hardly. Certainly in the top 20 for Prog/Rock/Metal.
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Old December 25th, 2009, 05:58 AM   #17 (permalink)
fps
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Originally Posted by Livingfree View Post

Either way, it doesn't change the fact that calling something "overrated" is an attempt at making an opinion sound as if it possesses more validity. If I think it's not overrated how is my opinion any less valid?

People seem to lack the ability to accept differing opinions as being equal to their own because we like to view ourselves as being superior to others.

This is something I learned a long time ago. I remember back in the day when I used to have trouble accepting other types of music. I always thought I was very open-minded as well, odd how I now look back and realize what a turd I had been about a lot of different things. Sadly, that seems to be a mindset that is very prevalent in the metal community.
i think you've missed the distinction between an opinion based purely on the music, and another whose target is those who have an opinion on the music. i am not saying that it is a bad record. for all my attacks on it, it's clear the band knows what they are trying to achieve, and there is a standard of musicianship and togetherness that is beyond a merely professional level.

i do not use the term overrated to enhance an opinion that the music is bad. that would be a simpleton's approach. my point is that often a record comes out, is immediately labelled a "classic", or "brilliant", before enough time has been spent with the album for it possibly to be judged, and then, especially now in a time when music is used as a disposable commodity, the album isn't listened to many more times but the judgment from those initial listens stands.

i think i have listened to this record, which i bought, many more times than most of the people who have heard it, banged their heads and gone "brilliant", then gone and listened to something else. i have listened to this album 30-40 times to come to my opinion on it. i have tried to get inside the songwriting and its flow, which i find lacking, inside the concept, how it is reflected in the music (some success, the spinetingling keys at the start of the Czar, the QotSA-ish vocals at 4:50 in the same song, the outro of Oblivion with its spacious guitar harmonies), inside the lyrics, which are like a 15 year old's idea of spiritual writing ("all i need is this wise man's staff, encased in crystal he leads the way....").

too many people ignore the details, or don't listen long enough, or don't have any criteria for what makes a record GREAT rather than GOOD. this is a good record, insomuch as it has some rocking riffs, some great sections, some fantastic musicianship, some surprising moments of "evolution" for the band (not all necessarily positive, but definitely experimental). But a great record must fully occupy its own riffs, ideas and themes, make them all as good as they could be imagined to be, ESPECIALLY when it's a concept record; it must tell a story through its words and music. that's why it's such a risky move to write one. I like this album, I'd give it a 6.5, healthily above average, but I'm a harsh marker and there are many records I like better.

I'd add that it's my adoration of operas by the likes of Britten and Wagner that make my marking and my standards what they are, I am not a closed-minded person, except when it comes to refusing to acknowledge as excellent something that I do not believe to be so.

Last edited by fps : December 25th, 2009 at 06:00 AM.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:41 PM   #18 (permalink)
imaeatyoursoul
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great album... but disappointing considering their previous albums.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 11:35 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yep. Mastodon's best.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 01:34 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I can't get into this album. I've given it a good go but it's not growing on me. If I feel in the mood to listen to Mastodon I'll chuck Leviathan, Remission or Blood Mountain on over this one easily.

They played the album in its entirety when I saw them live a couple of months ago and it bored the crap out of me. Also they can't sing it for shit live.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 03:45 AM   #21 (permalink)
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i'm delighted i saw them just before Blood Mountain came out, I reckon that was the best time to see em live.
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