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Mastodon - Divinations - 60%

ConorFynes, December 27th, 2010

Suffice to say, Mastodon surprised quite a few people with the visceral 'Crack The Skye.' Taking their progressive sludge metal and throwing in a heap of psychedelic spacial effects, it quickly became one of the year's most acclaimed hits. From that album comes 'Divinations,' a short but sweet burst of energy that demonstrates what 'Crack The Skye' is all about within a short amount of time.

Beginning with an intentionally out-of-tune banjo, things get heavy pretty quickly with the band's trademark guitar tone and heaviness. Before long, the vocals come in to kick off the verse; while the singer may suit the sound of the music, it is still not a style of vocal work that appeals to my ear much. Halfway between clean singing and growling, the vocal style would not sound out of place in hardcore punk, which makes it feel a bit out of place on a progressive metal track. However, when the chorus comes, the battle between growling and clean singing is won by the latter. A soaring vocal melody is coupled with an optimistic sounding, frantically technical guitar riff to make a moment of real beauty in the song.

In any case, 'Crack The Skye' never entirely convinced me as a result of it's flaws and it not necessarily coinciding with my tastes, but 'Divinations' is a great track. While certainly not essential listening by any league, the instrumental version is definately interesting to hear, even for someone who doesn't necessarily consider himself a fan of the band.

Bizarre - 70%

barrage, March 9th, 2009

Ouch! Be prepared for something different, come March 24th. ‘Crack The Skye,’ is surely a step in a different direction…where I don’t know though. This could be a step toward ascendancy or perhaps a plunge into the deep and dark waters of failure. The vocals on this single, ‘Divinations’ would take any hardcore Mastodon fan by surprise.

Incorporated here, are some clean melodic singing bits and the regular shouts and screams provided by Troy Sanders. The music is tight as ever, and sounds just as good as any previous song, but the vocals are definitely weird and it sounds a lot worse than having a 1-tonne pickup ram you square in the face. The drums are spectacular, wild and incredulous and so is the guitar work. Mastodon have never disappointed me as musicians; they are a very, very capable band; technically accurate, tight as a unit. However, their vocals have always been a letdown, a terrible letdown.

Mastodon have never stuck to a particular style and the styles they have implemented and utilized have been disastrous. Personally, the harsher ‘March Of The Fire Ants’ vocal has been their best attempt, but the others have been failure through and through. These guys have always been a bizarre band from their early days, and not much has changed. However, I wish and hope that they could stick to one vocal style or in other words the vocal style that goes with their music.

Half Gay, Half Cool - 60%

Satanic_Shoe, February 3rd, 2009

I've been a long-time Mastodon fan. I started off with Blood Mountain, which was my favorite release of theirs up until a while ago. Then I started to think of it more as their worst release, with Remission and Leviathan being far superior, Blood Mountain being the ultimate sell-out album for them. I still hold true to that opinion. Now, when talk surfaced of their new album, I became interested and found a link to their newest single (metal bands should NOT release singles, the biggest hint at selling-out), "Divinations".

"Divinations" is one of the shortest tracks on Mastodon's upcoming album, and I greeted it with some very mixed reactions, but I'm not jumping to any conclusions about the new album based on this song. The song starts with a pretty cool intro before falling into the dreaded verse-chorus song structure (oy-vey). The entire song is clean sung, which isn't really a bad thing during the verses, Brent Hinds taking up all vocal duties on the song. However, the chorus is sung in a very... "gay" (for lack of a better word), pop-song manner, which, unfortunately, kills the song. Two verses and two choruses in, the song transitions to a very odd mix of lead and rhythm guitar that's really quite interesting and keeps the listener from hating the song (up to this point) entirely. Then there's another half-boring verse and another gay chorus and the song is done.

All in all, not TOO bad. It's mixed well and is fairly good in the instrumental area; but it shows the band moving further in the wrong, watered-down mainstream-appealing direction. However, this release may not be entirely indicative of what to expect on the upcoming full-length, so don't get your hopes too down.