Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crack the Skye finds Mastodon on the haunt

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge STILL STANDING: Brann Dailor (left), Bill Kelliher, Brent Hinds, and Troy Sanders.
  • STILL STANDING: Brann Dailor (left), Bill Kelliher, Brent Hinds, and Troy Sanders.

For nearly 10 years, Brann Dailor and Brent Hinds have served as two equal but wholly opposite forces fueling the fiery dirges of Atlanta's metal behemoth, Mastodon.

While Dailor's fast, complex movements as a drummer are the flipside to his reserved and somewhat aloof demeanor, Hinds is a mad dog. His bark is every bit as mean and loud as the malevolent guitar thunder he commands. Over the years, his public brawls with a music journalist and other rockers have made him the stuff of legend.

"If you ask for it, I'm down for the dealing, and I will definitely hand you the price tag!" he offers coldly.

When anchored against Dailor's precise musicianship and persona, the two function as a powerful machine whose real-life tragedies and traumas are manifested in Mastodon's fourth full-length album, Crack the Skye.

It's the first time that the group has exercised such a noticeable compositional restraint. Though the riffs and rhythms are massive, each song on the release comes together with focused melodies and slower tempos compared to the prog showiness and experimental chaos of the band's previous album, Blood Mountain. Cleaner vocals and sprawling white space sandBrannwiched between stinging guitar assaults define the ethereal qualities of Crack the Skye. If Blood Mountain was the group's homage to earth, and previous albums Leviathan and Remission honored water and fire, respectively, Crack the Skye flies into the stratosphere and beyond.

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(Photo by James Mincihn)

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