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Mastodon: Crack The Sky

Mastodon: Crack The Sky

Modern American Progressive Metal
Rating: 3.75/5.0

American metal band Mastodon is proof that a New Wave of American Heavy Metal progenitor can shed its skin and evolve into something better. Early material (Remission and Leviathan) found them traversing the same ground as their peers garnering labels of math metal to sludge metal (possibly their most definitive addition to the scene) to progressive metal. Frankly, in those days, I could lump them with Trivium, Lamb Of God, or Atreyu without as much as a hiccup. Yet, like their peers Atreyu, Mastodon has discovered that continuing in the olds paths is not only redundant, but morosely uncreative. With 'Crack The Skye,' Mastodon has made a nearly complete break with past moving into a more modern progressive metal sound.

Some characteristics from the past remain, both good and bad. Negatively, some metalcore remains as dirty/death vocals are resurrected on 'Ghost Of Karelia,' and otherwise fine piece. Positively, 'Crack The Skye' is noteworthy for its profound progressive arrangements as on 'The Czar.' Additionally, the album is immediately identified by it's plodding 'sludge' metal motif for which Mastodon is well known. Unfortunately, however, this notable attribute also makes this work at the worst, nearly unlistenable, or at the best, a difficult start. The first three tracks are mercilessly plodding and boring, and only saved by the great guitar solo at the end of 'Quintessence.' Things improve slightly with the more lively, three movement piece, 'The Czar.' The real peak is climbed with the title track 'Crack The Skye' which marked by brilliant bass and drum work, vocal arrangements and guitar solos. Yet, 'Crack The Sky' ends poorly with masterful in skill and arrangement but depressingly tedious 'The Last Baron.'

As profound it is to find a New Wave of American Heavy Metal progenitor progressing in substance and style beyond their peers, Mastodon's 'Crack The Skye' is a needlessly tedious venture of massive proportions. Listeners could be encouraged to have an energy drink in hand as they wade through this disc.

In Short

As profound it is to find a New Wave of American Heavy Metal progenitor progressing in substance and style beyond their peers, Mastodon's 'Crack The Skye' is a needlessly tedious venture of massive proportions. Listeners could be encouraged to have an energy drink in hand as they wade through this disc.

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