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Crack The Skye, Mastodon’s fourth studio album released through Reprise Records comes almost 3 years after their 2006 critically acclaimed album, Bloood Mountain.
In continuing the group’s tradition of approaching their albums with unique concepts, Crack The Skye, according to drummer Brain Dailor’s interview with heavy metal magazine ‘Thrash Hits’, is a story dealing variously with the art aesthetics of Tsarist Russia, astral travel, out of body experiences and Stephen Hawking's theories on wormholes.
In comparison with the bands previous album, Crack The Skye appears to take its influence from early Black Sabbath as well as a whole host of progressive heavy metal bands. The lyrics are deep, well-thought out, the drumming is spectacular, they make heavy groove-type progressive music, play incredibly technical, yet, catchy riffs and have a style that is clearly their own.
The album was produced by Brendan O’Brien, who is well known for his work with Rage Against The Machine, AC/DC and Pearl Jam. The album clocks in at just over 50 minutes and contains 7 tracks.
Divinations, the first single to be taken from the album starts off with a haunting banjo riff before exploding into a chugging metal riff then reaching a clear and soaring chorus.
Meanwhile album opener, Oblivion sounds very much like an Ozzy Osbourne solo record before changing pace to reveal a more southern rock influence and a very bluesy guitar solo which enhances the track.
The album’s title track features guest vocals from Scott Kelly of experimental heavy metal band Neurosis, who also appears on the track Crystal Skull on Mastodons previous album Blood Mountain.
Quintessence hits the listener from the off, a 6 minute epic which contains influences from progressive rock pioneers Rush, before breaking out into the catchy, “letting it go, letting it go” chorus.
Whilst Crack The Skye differs slightly from the bands previous three albums, containing a much more psychedelic and progressive sound, fans of the band will ultimately find the album a triumph.