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This is it? This is the Mastodon album everyone is tossing as the new masterpiece, this revolutionary modern classic? This is what everyone is excited about? Holy fuck, this sucks. Fuck, I can barely even listen to this tripe. How is everyone else so enamored with it? I honestly rarely hate albums as much as I do this one, because I actually went out of my way to praise Mastodon’s last album Blood Mountain, which I still think is pretty good. But for them to put out this…it’s nothing less than completely inexcusable.
This is Crack the Skye, and it sucks so hard that I am inclined to believe it was made by a completely different band and accidentally released under the Mastodon name. I bet the record executives just forgot to check the tape; that must be it. This was a project by some no-name group of mountain-men from the Rockies; probably incestuous child-rapists without any kind of formal musical training. Heinous devil-men with blunt head trauma from falling down rocks and genitals swollen from having to pull out cactus spikes too often.
But alas. I cannot rest in realms of fantasy forever. Mastodon made this album, and it is my duty to verbally castrate them for it. Let the festivities begin:
Alternative rock choruses, obnoxiously bland guitarwork and unnaturally nasal vocals, oh my! Mastodon have conjured up something here that is so far away from metal that it’s hard to believe so many people are fooled into thinking this is some kind of a progression. Frankly, anyone who thinks this is any kind of a metal masterpiece or a progressive one is high. I do not want any of what these people are smoking, nor do I ever want to meet any of them in person.
The album kicks off with a song that nobody will ever remember after its end, one that is perhaps the most unmemorable song I have ever heard in my entire life. It is titled “Oblivion,” and I have to wonder here, how is it possible to make this kind of progressive rock so god-awfully painful? It’s some of the most wretchedly unpleasant music ever. The rumbling guitars and whiddly leads should be inoffensive, but they’re played in such a condescending, self-conscious manner that they become…vile, uneasy and despicable. The vocals don’t help. They’re whiny and obnoxious, and it’s probably the worst clean vocal performance I’ve ever heard in my life from a major band like this. Good god, he makes Ozzy sound like Dio! It’s absolutely atrocious. Everything he sings is specifically tailored to be as painful as possible. Listen to that chorus on “Divinations” – have you ever in your life heard something that disgustingly snobbish? It is sung with this horrible self-righteousness, this terrible “ironic” sort of arrogance; you can hear it in that sleazy sheen to his whiny rambling. It’s like they’re talking down to the listener for buying their album, for falling for it!
“Quintessence” has a chorus that goes “Let it go, let it go!” Fitting, in the sense that the song is pretty much a six-minute extraction of the band’s collective bowels. Completely disgusting. “The Czar” is like Black Sabbath or Pink Floyd played by morons who don’t understand the first thing about atmosphere and flow, and “Ghost of Karelia” incorporates Thrash riffing as bland and out of place as it can possibly be. The title track is stupidly heavy, sounding the most like the Mastodon I know and love, but also not being anywhere near as compelling or interesting. “The Last Baron” finishes with a whopping thirteen minutes of ridiculously boring, tepid droning and psychedelic vomit that would make Jimi Hendrix cry. It’s a dreadful song without any kind of entertainment value. Dragging, overwrought and annoying, this is a surefire way to show people how NOT to end a music album.
This is just bad all around; there’s nothing good about it. Sure, a few of the leads are pretty good, but they’re not very memorable, and they don’t rise above the sea of splooge that are the songs they’re submerged in. I just don’t get the entire idea behind this. The progressions are aimless; they do not seem to have any direction at all. The songs are ear-bleeding awful, being unbelievably pretentious in their delivery and also doubly not sounding any good. The music is just unpleasant all around, sounding dishonest, mean-spirited and just all around puerile, in both instrumentation and feel.
Frankly, I’ve figured out why everyone thinks this is so revolutionary. It’s very clear to me now. Obviously those people who praised it for that reason were praising it because there was never before anything so universally fucking annoying! That must be it! Truly, Crack the Skye is a masterclass in horrendous songwriting and aimless attempts at progression. I’ve never heard anything so wretched in tone and irritating in mood, so unbelievably boring and excruciating. It’s as if it was a dream – nothing in reality could be so senselessly offensive to my common morality!
…yeah, Mastodon suck now. Too bad, I guess.