Mastodon’s latest album, Crack the Skye, is easily one of their best works to date, and possibly the best album of the year. I know it’s really early in the year, but I feel pretty safe in saying that there might not be a metal album better than this for the rest of the year.
I don’t think it’s fair to compare this album to their other works because all their stuff is so different. I personally love the fact that they have evolved so much. Crack the Skye is possibly the most radical change of all but they execute this change in a masterful way.
After I listened to the whole album in one sitting, I was blown away. This album is very progressive, but not in an annoying way. Here’s what I mean by that: My friend recently turned me on to a band called Between the Buried and Me. They are a great prog metal band, but I find myself constantly asking him “Which song is playing now?” because each of their songs has several very dramatic and abrupt style changes that makes it sound like a completely different song all together. That’s not a bad thing, but the change is so abrupt that it tends to get kind of annoying at times. What makes this album different are the amazing transitions. I don’t really know how to put it into words, but the songs seem to sort of build up to the next sound. The best way to understand this is to just listen to track four, “The Czar”, which I consider Mastodon’s “Stairway to Heaven”. This track is broken up into four distinct parts, but it’s easy to tell when the whole track is complete.
Speaking of “The Czar” reminds me this album has so much groove. Once you have listened to this classic from start to finish, this album will find a home in your car’s CD player for months to come. I think the greatest compliment I can give this album, is in the fact that in all the times I have listened to it (around 20+ times) I have not skipped a single song. Ever. Every single song on this album is amazing and you will find it hard to skip over any of them even on multiple listens.
I can’t find a fault with this album. The riffs are amazing. The guitars sound amazing. The vocals are beautifully eerie, and the drums (Brann Dailor is one of my favorite drummers) plays a big part in creating the unique sound in this album.
Overall, I am very proud to place this album on my shelf next to masterpieces such as Leviathan, Blood Mountain, and Remission.