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Crack The Skye Image
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 131 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth album from the Atlantia, Georgia rock band features songs about the murder of Rasputin.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Amidst blistering tritone riffs and arpeggiated chords is a group keener to explore sonic harmony than crank the distortion. Crack the Skye is an epic trek across the space-time continuum, entirely on Mastodon’s terms.
  2. It’s the rarest type of album: one that exceeds every expectation you may have, branding itself in your mind forever and constantly surprising you with how amazing it is.
  3. It’s the songs that matter most on Crack The Skye, and the songs have rarely sounded stronger.
  4. The music is as ambitious as the plot, but more coherent. [May 2009, p.116]
  5. First off, a warning: the best way to encounter Mastodon's Crack the Skye for the first time is with headphones. Reported to be a mystical -- if crunchy -- concept record about Tsarist Russia, this is actually the most involved set of tracks, both in terms of music and production, the band has ever recorded. "Ambitious" is a word that regularly greets Mastodon -- after all, they did an entire album based on Moby Dick -- but until now, that adjective may have been an understatement. There is so much going on in these seven tracks that it's difficult to get it all in a listen or two (one of the reasons that close encounters of the headphone kind are recommended). It may seem strange that the band worked with Bruce Springsteen producer Brendan O'Brien this time out, but it turns out to be a boon for both parties: for the band because O'Brien is obsessive about sounds, textures, and finding spaces in just the right places; for O'Brien because in his work with the Boss he's all but forgotten what the sounds of big roaring electric guitars and overdriven thudding drums can sound like. The guitar arrangements on tracks like "Divinations" and "The Czar," while wildly different from one another, are the most intricate, melodically complex things the band has ever recorded. There are also more subtle moments such as the menacing, brooding, and ultimately downer cuts such as "The Last Baron," where tempos are slowed and keyboards enter the fray and stretch the time, adding a much more multidimensional sense of atmosphere and texture. Still, Crack the Skye rocks, and hard! Its shifting tempos and key structures are far more meaty and forceful than most prog metal, and menace and cosmological speculation exist in equal measure, providing for a spot-on sense of balance. Some of the hardcore death metal conservatives may have trouble with this set, but the album wasn't recorded for them -- or anybody else. Crack the Skye is the sound of a band stretching itself to its limits and exploring the depth of its collective musical identity as a series of possibilities rather than as signatures. And yes, that is a good thing.
  6. In a way, Mastodon operates something like prime-era Metallica, unleashing these huge, blistering tracks that journey over peaks and valleys and ditches and oceans before leaving you spinning.
  7. For metal devotees seeking heaviness and shred paired with otherworldly curio, Crack the Skye is the be all and end all, but for anybody without a Celtic Frost tattoo, do not follow "the wise man's staff / Encased in crystal."

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. DanielM
    Mar 25, 2009
    10
    Just read the Q magazine review to see why this has as low a score as it does. Reviewers talk about how incredible it is and then say thats a Just read the Q magazine review to see why this has as low a score as it does. Reviewers talk about how incredible it is and then say thats a problem. Expand
  2. Apr 24, 2012
    10
    This album is a masterpiece from start to finish. Mastodon continue to redefine the progressive metal sound. I feel this will be the albumThis album is a masterpiece from start to finish. Mastodon continue to redefine the progressive metal sound. I feel this will be the album all other Mastodon albums will be judged by for years to come. Expand
  3. DianaF
    Mar 27, 2009
    10
    This band has not failed me yet.
  4. DanielH
    Jun 16, 2009
    10
    Awesome, absolutely awesome. Remids me of the first time I heard Metallica's "Ride The Lightning". Kazem is right, it gets better every Awesome, absolutely awesome. Remids me of the first time I heard Metallica's "Ride The Lightning". Kazem is right, it gets better every time you listen to it. Expand
  5. May 17, 2013
    10
    Instant masterpiece for the band. Following 2 incredible albums in leviathan and blood mountain, Mastodon takes things to an entirely newInstant masterpiece for the band. Following 2 incredible albums in leviathan and blood mountain, Mastodon takes things to an entirely new level of song writing and inspiration. The best of the themed elemental albums and a magnificent precursor to what was still to come, in the hunter. Overall great band. Expand
  6. KevinR
    Apr 3, 2009
    9
    Though more focused on experimentation and prog-rock style than previous Mastodon work, Crack the Skye is an absolutely grandiose album. More Though more focused on experimentation and prog-rock style than previous Mastodon work, Crack the Skye is an absolutely grandiose album. More than anything, it shows that Mastodon has that rare ability in metal to transcend its own genre, putting them on a stage with such luminaries as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Anthrax. Expand
  7. Smenkharon
    Jun 12, 2009
    4
    Huge disappointment for me. Too much melody and not enough rhythmic pounding. Prog-ish noodling instead of compelling riffing. Weak vocals. Huge disappointment for me. Too much melody and not enough rhythmic pounding. Prog-ish noodling instead of compelling riffing. Weak vocals. Nowhere near the replay value of the last three discs. Expand

See all 42 User Reviews