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Album Review
Crack The Skye

Crack The Skye
by Mastodon

Relapse Records/Reprise Records/Sire/Warner Bros

Review Date
29th April 2009
Reviewed by

I was at a party out in the western areas of Auckland recently, which are known around here as being a haven for metal fans in general. It’s true that this party came complete with a mean-looking silver & black Valiant parked at an exciting angle on the front lawn and also featured a heck of lot of beer, so top marks go to the fine hosts for sticking to the tried and trusted values that are held dear by the fine people living out west.

This piss-up also featured a few close friends trading music and hilarity back and forth with short-DJ sets: three songs to impress the throng, and then give up the turntables to the next chancer. This all went well, and gave the very patient neighbours an excellent diet of tunes from across all sorts of genres.

At one point a Mastodon record was put on the turntables, and someone wanted to know what or who they were. “Bedroom metal” I helpfully replied. I say helpfully, but after listening to this new album called ‘Crack The Skye’, I’m not so sure…I knew next to nothing about them a few short months ago, and I have no real compulsion to go back and listen to their previous album ‘Blood Mountain’ or the couple before that, but after receiving this one in the mail I’m starting to think there may be a lot more to this band than just coming up with concepts about wormholes and smoking heaps of weed.

For a start, they have truckloads of monster riffs that have been expertly recorded and smartly assembled and would sound fantastic in an ice canyon, or maybe at an outdoor show. Tagged on to this monolith of sound we can also enjoy parts featuring various mystical instruments and twelve-string lutes, or whatever, so it’s all very fruity and yet still sounds really good up loud. Coupled to all that lot is a vocalist dude who has perhaps been to the School Of Tool, come out of it relatively unscathed, and happy to profess a monster throat snarl that is heavily processed in places, left in the reverb chamber in others. The first track on the album ‘Oblivion’ is super-great, as all first-up tracks should be, but it was the one that convinced me that there is more to them than I’d previously dismissed them for – it has all of the stuff I mentioned above, and is killer, pretty much. The rest of the album follows on.

Short answer bro, is buy it and impress all your mean-as mates, if you have any. All my mates are probably sick of this one already.


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