Mastodon

Crack The Skye (Warner 2009)

Album review

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Ok, I know this review is late, but I'm still not actually sure where my opinion lies on this one...this album is going to take awhile to digest, but current thoughts that come to mind are, "wow, this album is going to piss alot of fans off", and "what the hell are they doing?". Obviously, if you've been a Mastodon fan since "Leviathan" or before, and are still a fan, you've come to know that none of their albums sound alike, and they tend to make some pretty big jumps between each release. They have to evolve, I accept that, and yet, I'm still feeling kinda suckerpunched and confused here. I have trouble listening to "Crack The Skye" and relating it to those guys who wrote "March Of The Fire Ants". Where did all the heavy go? Where are the almighty riffs that punch you in the face? They've been largely replaced by strumming chords and picking. The crazy incomprehensible screaming, growling, and yelling in key with trade offs between Sanders and Hines has been replaced by really melodic singing dominated by Hines. Christ. What's going on here? Have Mastodon become a rock band? I guess the mellowness and glossy production are just startling me.
Now that I'm done bitching about major label over-production, on to the album itself. Mastodon is the only band that comes to mind when I think of consistent concept albums that don't suck. This is no exception, the storyline, (something totally batshit crazy about astral projections and Rasputin) lyrics, and guitar work are amazing. The fact that it sounds polished to death (compared to older material) is what is fucking killing me when I listen to it. Brent Hines sounds large and in charge on this album, dominating the vocals and a heavy chunk of the guitar work. "The Czar" is one of the mellowest things they've ever done, yet amazing. This has the album dripping with southern rock riffs, and another health dose of Zepplin and Thin Lizzy. I wish their Eyehategod/Neurosis side would rear it's head again, but the only sign of that here is on the title track, (where of course Scott Kelly of Neurosis makes an appearance) it offers several glimpse of the Mastodon that was, with some faster, crazier parts, and "The Last Baron" has some of their signature prog clusterfucks. I'm missing those stoner rock/doom parts though...where'd they go?

Album Rating:

Reviewed by: Wolfie

2009 AbsolutMetal