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Mastodon - Crack The Skye CD (album) cover

CRACK THE SKYE

Mastodon

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.11 | 619 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Musically, this album is a delight, mainly because instead of it being a constant onslaught, it charms through both intelligent arrangements and stunning melodies. Rather than using swamped, overdriven guitars all the time, the band utilizes multiple guitars with less gain to provide the power- something other metal bands might do well to emulate. I may be crazy, but the vocals often remind me of either Ozzy Osbourne or Layne Staley, somewhat whiny and slightly growling. The drumming is outstanding- there is no other word for it. Admittedly, the conceptual story is "out there," having similar qualities to that of Genesis's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but lacking the visceral appeal. Overall, this takes no time at all to appreciate, and yet it appreciates with each listen. This is also a wonderful album for those who, like me, enjoy metal in relatively small doses.

"Oblivion" After a fantastic and devilish introductory riff, the album is off to a very strong start. While the vocals are certainly good, it's the various guitars that hold my interest. The lead does a spectacular job alternating between soaring notes and speedier licks. In any event, it is safe to say that this is one of my favorite songs in the subgenre.

"Divinations" After what sounds like a little banjo riff, the band rocks out around that theme. The grating vocals are really not my thing at all, but otherwise, this is a powerful short track that should please most folks looking for something on the heavier side. The drumming is the highlight for me.

"Quintessence" Again, it's the guitars that win applause. The arrangement is creative, and I really enjoy the segment in 7/4 time. Overall, this is a brilliant and complex composition, even if it sounds static in terms of mood.

"The Czar" The opening instrumentation immediately caught my attention. The music blends some mild exotic flavors with the band's customary all out heavy metal. The guitars are very flavorful, and there's plenty of variety to keep me entertained and intrigued. And though it's but a small constituent, I absolutely love the way the song ends.

"Ghost of Karelia" Once again, the band grabs my attention with another fascinating introduction. The guitar and bass pairing under the vocals is exceptional, so much so that it paradoxically compliments and distracts from the singing at the same time.

"Crack the Skye" I don't particularly care for the growling, though the sung melody is spot on. The guitar driven music is at once brawny and full of subtleties.

"The Last Baron" A terse acoustic bit gives way to a battering of drums and that slightly whiny lead vocalist. This is one of those rare pieces that, while not really memorable (usually a bad sign for me) jumps out each time I hear it, making me say, "Hell yeah- I love this!" Without a doubt, the refrain anchors this spiraling piece and serves as a definite highlight of the entire album.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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