Friday, April 3, 2009

Prehistoric Elephants

I grabbed a copy of Mastodon's latest effort, Crack the Skye the other day. I admit, I walked into this album as a skeptic. After Blood Mountain, one of the most epic and original pieces of work in the metal world, likely for decades, I figured it would be an impossible act to follow.

Before I give my 2 cents on this album though, I do have to give a caveat. Whatever I feel or say about this band and album is sullied, because they're cheating. I pretty much figured that anyone able to write music this complex, strange and convoluted must be on acid. Low and behold when I realized how right I was.

Life has not been easy as a member of Mastodon. To say that the past few years of success under Blood Mountain have been a cake walk would be a massive understatement. Brent Hinds (Vox/Guitar) suffered a brain hemorrhage that almost killed him. Bill Kelliher (Guitar) suffered from a case of alcoholism which debilitated his body so badly, he was "days from death". Brann Dailor's (Drums) mother was left homeless after her boyfriend died in their sleep. This is only the start of a long list of things which plagued the band.

However, come shining out the back-end is Crack the Skye. I was almost guaranteed that Mastodon would suffer post-success syndrom, but I was so very wrong. Some people might complain about a 9 track album, however it comes in just under 60 minutes, and is some of the most mind-warping shit you will hear. 13 minute epics such as The Last Baron are achievements which most people only dream of accomplishing.

Really... what have you done with your life?

-Show me fire with no smoke