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I was expecting so much this Mastodon's effort that being disappointed would be a scenario to consider. Thanks to Odin, that didn't happen.
'Crack the Skye' proves that Mastodon is not a band committed to a single metal style, not at all. 'Blood Mountain' took a more experimental road when compared to 'Leviathan', for example, and this record keeps that innovative path. We can find influences from thrash to Genesis' prog rock. Is it difficult to harmonize so much variety? Yes. But for Mastodon that's piece of cake.
Although the innovation that Mastodon always pretend to create in their records, that doesn't mean that their particular sound is lost. No, Bill and Brent deliver one more time awesome riffs and solos with their singular guitar tune. Brann, of course, shows that he's one of the best drummer nowadays, with his accurate, fast and 'clean' playing style. Simple astonishing. Brann is the band's heart, without him they could not do their time variation, like 'The Czar' shows. In one word: talent.
'Crack the Skye', also, is an album that gets better and better due to the tracklist order. 'Oblivion' is the weakest song with the final three 'Ghost of Karelia', 'Crack the Skye' and 'The Last Baron' being the best. There is some kind of progressive geniality towards the end that keep the listener focused and stick to the record till the last minute. That's a great positive point, making the album everything but boring, although the duration of some tracks. And progressive is perhaps the word that defines best this effort.
Some will complain about the mid-paced tempo of CTS, which is probably their slowest record. Only 'Divinations' and some parts of 'Quintessence' come close to high speed tracks like 'Blood and Thunder' or 'Megalodon'. But that doesn't mean that the intensity is minor. Completely wrong in my point of view. The lack of speed in some moments is very well filled by a complex structure/composition, where the 3 B's talent is shown, like I said previously. We can find solos which can makes us think about Opeth ('The Czar') and riffs that create a glacial background capable of throwing us to scenarios like the old Russia or to some kind of stratospheric landscapes. The most suitable example is 'The Last Baron', one of the 'Crack the Skye' highlights, with some Cynic and King Crimson reminiscence, with an excellent work of Troy here too.
Other change in comparison to other Mastodon's works is the vocals. I don't pay much attention to this factor. They are not so harsh like before, the cleaning registry appears more frequently. In this area, I only have to mention Scott Kelly. Fuck, he delivers a powerful contribution with his growling vocals on the self titled track...! The lyrical themes, like they said, are full of metaphors for their own personal shit, so that doesn't deserve attention either.
One final tip: This record deserves to be listened a thousand times because there is so much to find out.