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Mastodon - Crack The Skye CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.11 | 619 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars An excellent (and original) prog metal album!

This was my introduction to American progressive metal band Mastodon. The first time I heard this, I was immediately captivated by the vocal melodies, the use of multiple guitars, and the overall magic feel of this album. 2009 has been a year filled with great albums, and this is surely one of the reasons why. The songwriting skills of the band are magnificent, and the use of layered guitars that rarely have any distortion at all really adds a nice touch.

"Crack the Skye" is without any weak tracks, but the main highlight is the closing epic "The Last Baron". Of course, this album isn't quite worthy of the title "masterpiece", but it does come close.

The type of music that is played here is a blend of your traditional Dream Theater prog metal, groove metal, and a lot of modern rock/metal elements. The vocal style is mostly clean vocals with some nice tradeoffs between the multiple vocalists. There are a few moments with "harsh" vocals, but they aren't death metal growls or anything like that. I'll explain each song in a little bit more detail next.


"Oblivion"- It opens up with a nice riff with just a guitar, but then the entire band comes in. The short, but excellent opening is incredible. The three amazing vocalists have excellent tradeoffs, and that is part of the reason why I love this band. It has their trademark use of many guitars, and the solo near the middle is superb. This is an excellent start to the album.

"Divinations"- It starts off with the nice guitars again, but then continues the riff in another great opening from Mastodon. It continues a riff with some tradeoffs between two vocalists. This part is excellent, and the chorus is cool as well. It has some nice use of harsher vocals that add a really nice layer to the music. Another great song!

"Quintessence"- The guitar harmonies are what makes this a great song, and the songwriting is very good. It features some nice transitions and some good instrumental passages between sections. This isn't the best from the album, but it still isn't weak or anything like that.

"The Czar"- Some organ chords open up the song, and are then followed by a nice guitar melody. The whole band soon comes in, with a rhythmic bass line that impresses me every time. The vocals during the beginning are in a lower style, and a fair amount of the song has a groove metal sound. The song does progress from the opening section into a really cool part with some melodic metal riffs. This goes back into the earlier section, resulting in a very epic feel. This song is probably the second best on "Crack The Skye", only surpassed by the closer.

"Ghost of Karelia"- This starts out with a nice riff with guitar and keys. The intro is excellent, and maybe one of the best from the album. The rest of the song has nice use of the opening riff, and some excellent progressions.

"Crack the Skye"- One of the reasons why I love this album is because almost every song has a fascinating introduction. This song has some of the harshest vocals on the album, and this song actually reminds me a lot of Cynic. It has the alternating use of growled vocals and electronically distorted clean vocals. This song is very good, but is not the best on the album.

"The Last Baron"- This is what makes Crack the Skye an awesome album! It has excellent riffs, the perfect blend of emotions, great vocals, and just pure perfection. I really don't even know how to describe this song. It defines the word "masterpiece", and is one of my favorite prog metal epics I've ever heard. Without this excellent song, Crack the Skye would barely be above average. An awesome end to an album!

This album is incredible, and deserves its spot in every prog metal fan's collection. So why don't I give this album a 5 star rating? Simply because I know Mastodon can achieve even greater heights. They've been improving so much after every album, I'm positive that within their next few releases they will make an album that completely blows my mind. As I write this, this is Mastodon's best album, but I'm sure a 5 star masterpiece is coming in the near future.

As for now, this is a highly recommended album!

4 stars.

J-Man | 4/5 |


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