Mastodon's latest release "Crack the Skye" is somewhat of a departure from the visceral heaviness of their previous works. It is slower, minus alot of the metal riffing that Mastadon is famous for, and features more melodic vocals. What you have instead is a sprawling, prog rock opus, filled with complex beauty.
How to describe the sound on this disc? It reminds of the heavy psychosis and dissonant psychedelic space metal of Voivod, circa "Dimension Hatross". There is a strong King Crimson influence, with highly experimental guitar work and complex time signatures. I also hear a strong Coroner influence with some dark, discordant, depressive mid-paced progressive thrash guitar playing. And Sabbath. Mastodon at times on this album channels the spirit of Ozzy, with some vocals sounding akin to his, and with some quality doomy frayed nerve endings riffing. What this album lacks in pure speed in aggression it makes up for in complex, beautiful. and frightening layers of sound. Listen to this disc on a good set of speakers or headphones. The production is very full and deep, and you won't want to miss any nuances. Lyrically, "Crack the Skye" is a deep, somewhat abstract, psychedelic science fiction concept album, akin to the sprawling concept works of Voivod. All the tracks are great, and once again, this an album that must be listened to as a whole as the songs flow into each other without breaks. Highly recommended. It is not the Mastodon you may be used to, but I promise that "Crack the Skye will not disappoint.