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Mastodon has always been a band who offers something different each time they release an album. They began with a heavy angry sounding album, than slowly became less edgy while they increased their technical ability. This has been received as a mixed bag. Mastodon has lost a lot of fans because of the fact that they have traded edginess for more complex material. While others, myself included embrace this new sound and wonder what Mastodon will do next.
I just purchased “Crack the Skye” today and I asked a friend to put it on in the car on the ride home. I asked what he thought of it and he gave me this response “It’s like Pink Floyd, but metal!” I find this to be a great way to explain Mastodon to someone who has never heard them because they take elements from psychedelic rock, stoner rock, and heavy metal to create an awe inspiring listening experience that becomes more complex as each album is released.
Now that I’m finished my little blurb it’s onto the album itself. It opens exactly the way I was hoping with a memorable riff, course that stays in your head for days, and some great vocal variation. This continues throughout the album from one song to the next. Even though one song is technically four parts they seem to flow together beautifully and the transition is so smooth that you hardly notice a change at all. Normally, I wouldn’t like it when songs appear to run together, but this one of the few times in which this works and works effectively.
The use of varied instrumentation, technical riffing, varied drum tempos, and variations on the same clean vocal style make this album a true gem of 2009. Even though some fans may think Mastodon has lost their edge they still put out excellent music and I would sure trade edge for technical ability any day. Also, as my album review suggests the best way to describe this album is that it is truly thinking man’s metal.