Album Review: Mastodon
Crack The Skye
Facts about this album:
* Mastodon are Bill Kelliher (guitars), Brann Dailor (drums), Brent Hinds (lead guitar, vocals) and Troy Sanders (bass).
* ‘Crack The Skye’ is Mastodon’s fourth album.
* After and incident following the 2007 MTV Video Awards, Brent Hinds suffered brain injuries which the band feared would spell the end of their career, but went on to make a full recovery.
Rejoice: the only metal band that muso snobs profess to like are back! The Atlantans’ fourth record might deal with Tsarist Russia, astral travelling and wormholes but, thanks to their ability to hew savage riffs while remaining immensely listenable, ‘Crack The Skye’ is a triumph. Less relentlessly brutal and more proggy/beardy than previous albums ‘Blood Mountain’ or ‘Leviathan’ but no less ornate, it lets drummer Brann Dailor’s Rush fixation collide with the riff armageddon of guitarists Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds, whose proclivity for the psychier side of metal is allowed to breath. The title track is a perfect storm of head-spinning rhythms and Scott ‘Neurosis’ Kelly’s guest vocals, whereas ‘The Last Baron’ is a true epic, all-chiming arpeggios and break-neck pace changes. And, thrillingly, ‘The Czar’ is a vast beast of an opus (in four movements, no less) that justifies its grand conception and billing by encompassing classic Mastodonic violence (‘Escape’) and their new, more expansive sound (‘Usurper’) in one stunning package. It’s a microcosm of ‘Crack The Skye’: thuddingly impressive, richly textured and constantly surprising.