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Mastodon's Crack The Skye - A Brief Introduction

cracked the sky is the fourth or sometimes also referred to as the fifth album by heavy metal band Mastodon released on March 24th 2009 the album took the band to new heights in the metal community and created a noticeable dent in the progressive rock world being a concept album the lyrics take you on a journey through time and space wormholes and the 18th century Russia I'll explain that one later some fans regard this album as the last phase in a set of four albums that the band released the last album to feature a sound that leaned towards more traditional progressive metal and thus separating their fan base into two groups those who like their old stuff cracked the sky and the albums released before that and those who like everything from the hunter and their newer albums no matter which group you feel you belong to or what albums you prefer the most it's now 10 years since crack the sky was released so I thought it would be a great time to look at some of the history behind this record this is a brief introduction to mastodons cracked the sky some Macedon fans might already know that their first four albums were influenced by heavy symbolism and concepts their debut album remission represents the element of fire their subsequent album Leviathan represents the element of water Blood Mountain represents the element of Earth while cracked the sky represents ether the element of spirits all the album's except remission also have an overarching concept tied into the lyrics Leviathan is based on the classic American novel moby-dick written by Herman Melville Blood Mountain follows a hero on his journey as he ascends a mountain to hunt down a Crystal Skull crack the sky on the other hand probably has the most original and complex story the band has ever told it follows a young boy or man who's paralyzed from his hips and threw out his legs luckily for him he knows how to do astral projection and travelling while sleeping through that he has the ability to explore different dimensions and planes of existence but then something unexpected happened the umbilical cord that connected his astral body to his earthly body started to burn when he flew too close to the Sun the band actually sings about this in the opening track to the album oblivion quote I flew beyond the Sun before it was time end quote drummer Brann Dailor explained the concept even more thoroughly in an interview with billboard back in February of 2009 and hang on here because this is quite a different story from what you're probably used to hearing quote he is in outer space and he is lost he gets sucked into a wormhole he ends up in the spirit realm where he talks to spirits telling them that he is not really dead so they sent him to the Russian cults they use him in a divination and find out his problem they decide they're going to help him they put his soul inside a Rasputin's body Rasputin goes to usurp the Tsar and he is murdered the two souls fly out a rasputin's body through the crack in the sky and Rasputin is the wise man that is trying to lead the child's home to his body because his parents have discovered him by now and think that he's dead Rasputin needs to get him back into his body before it's too late but they end up running into the devil along the way and the devil tries to steal their souls and bring them down there are some obstacles along the way end quote so yeah a bit of a mouthful right now the album doesn't only represent the element of ether though the title crack the sky is also a reference to drummer Brann Dailor sister who tragically died at the young age of 14 this again isn't the only meaning behind the album name though crack the sky is a reference to the fourth song on the album the Tsar during one of the last passages of the song lead guitarist and vocalist Brent Hinds sings quote spiraling up through the crack in the sky leaving material worlds behind end quote some people believe this to be the part where the main character leaves his home forever that his earthly body dies in sleep while his spirit travels through the astral planes quote I see your face in constellations and quote this lyric from the same song is believed by some to be a reference to sky de leur again it makes sense with her name asks a wordplay when she died she would still look up at the sky in search for something he would see her face in constellations according to the band members remission is another album dedicated to bronze sister this album has a noticed lib but noticeably harsher sound with no clean vocals at all rumbling riffs and do mere sound escapes to sum it up it's way more chaotic than cracked the sky in terms of sound maybe this was a face where bronze still needed a lot of healing from losing his sister after all the definition of the word remission is temporary alleviation of pain and/or suffering so while remission was a period where bran was healing from the loss of his sister maybe crack the sky is his wanting 'no stew finally let go of this pain completely but finds is hard to do so his memory of her is always prescient just like the sky and its constellations this is only a personal theory but I think it's quite interesting so the name of the drummer bran if directly translated to Norwegian it means fire while sky obviously is very similar in spelling as sky with the duality of these albums and these elements maybe the band tried to tell the story of how bran was left to mourn over his sister in a living flaming hell while his sister got an early ticket to heaven the subject matter is nonetheless very touching and paint to hear about something that was reaffirmed by neurosis vocalist and guitarist Scott Kelly when he provided guest vocals on the album's title track quote that song was a really really heavy song to do that song was about Braun's sister and how she passed away and it was a story that I was very familiar with from knowing Braun when he decided to do that he called me up to talk to me about it and said this is what I want to do and I really really want you to sing the song and I said you know sure I will I took it really seriously and I emailed with Braun's dad a couple of times and just talked to him about sky and then he sent me a photograph of her actually and I sat there and I looked at the photograph of her I just kind of meditated on her and all of the situation and the family and then actually set all that shit up in the studio and recorded the song with her picture there and I just really tried to do it as real as I felt I could and quote Braun wasn't the only person who made a big emotional impact on this record though lead guitarist and vocalist Brent Hinds had also added some deep thinking into the music here Hines got into a fight with System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian and musician William Hudson while I was drunk in Las Vegas he ended up with a head injury and wasn't entirely himself during this period it took him about eight months to get back on his legs again Braun believed that Brent put a lot of his struggles and frustrations from this experience into the music he made after all he was still recovering from his concussion when he made many of the risks for the album so in a way they pushed each other to be as real as possible this time around and there's really no doubt that this comes forth in the music in the quote-unquote making of video series that the band has put out on their YouTube channel they often mentioned how their producer Brendan O'Brien helped them sculpt their sound he had a ton of gear that they just borrowed from him during the recordings and apparently they found exactly what they needed a bunch of rare vintage gear now the band member were convinced during the creative processes that they were on to something special with this album in an interview with the Quietus in November 2008 Ron de leurs said quote maybe there was a deeper heart to this record that needed more exploring we got more involved with feeling the vibe of the record and everything feels more creepy and spaced out and something special is going on end quote levy guitars Brent Hinds noted that he was listening to a lot of in the Court of the Crimson King the classic prog rock debut by King Crimson drummer de leur and bassist and vocalist Troy Sanders listened to animals by Pink Floyd and it really seemed like they were priming themselves to create an epic prog album and their method definitely worked out troy and most likely all of the other members as well we're also inspired by neurosis on this one and on previous albums they've in several interviews mentioned how their hardcore fans of that band as mentioned in the beginning of this video this year marks a decades since the album's release and it still feels as fresh as ever I think that it will live up to its reputation for yet another decade if not more it provides a timeless ethereal and touching listening experience to say the least now that's it for this time thank you so much for watching let me know in the comments what you love the most about Mastodon as a little side note I want to mention that I'm planning to make more videos about Mastodon in addition to other bands like Queens of the Stone Age Foo Fighters The Mars Volta and Deftones so hit that subscribe button below if you love those bands and I'll see you later Cheers

44 thoughts on “Mastodon's Crack The Skye – A Brief Introduction

  1. I saw these guys live with Gojira and got to meet Brann before the show at a restaurant. He was with some crew members by the look of it and i just remember going into the room and instantly recognising him and he noticed me as well. Before he left he hit his head on a light before going up to my dad and i and saying that we didn't see anything embarrassing before leaving

  2. Their 10th anniversary tour this summer for Crack the Skye was an amazing experience. This is one of my favorite albums released since 2000.

  3. This album will forever be in my Top 5 favorite albums all genres included, it was eye opening and is probably the root of most of my current tastes in music.

  4. I love all albums but CtS is easily the best. The album i probably listen to the least is the Hunter. Not that i don't like it but it was hard to follow up Crack the Skye

  5. Oblivion is about the boy all along? Damn i always thought this song is about the early day of Satan

  6. honestly one of the best albums from the 2000s when you listen front to back. The mastering alone is orgasm-worthy

  7. That fight with Shavo is inaccurate. It wasn't Shavo. It was one of Shavo's friends. Brent was drunk and spilled his drink on the guy or something like that and the guy punched him out and he hit his head when he fell.

  8. Love your channel! It would be great to see a video of yours about other albums that are not necessarily concept albums, but have some sort of thread throughout, like The Colour and The Shape, In Utero or Dirt. Cheers!

  9. Very good video! Good visuals and content, looking forward to more.

    For neste video så stemmer jeg remission.. Min favoritt er Leviathan så spar det beste til slutt takk :p

  10. The more psychedelic they get, the more i love them.
    Still waiting on that trash metal /psych-jam band crossover though

  11. I noticed you got rid of your earlier uploads such as Jimi Hendrix, Joy Division, and the Mars L'via videos. Is there a reason why?

  12. I adore mastodon. What I like most about them is their harmonic sound changes during a song. Jaguar God can be a good current, Ole’ Nessie is an early work example for what I think. Also I always get the feeling that these guys try their best to grow themselves in each and every song/performance. In every album there is at least one song that make me say “wow how can he do that?” for every member of the band.

  13. Just saw them perform the album in its entirety, incredible with the visuals.

    Their newer stuff is really good too, it’s just in a different presentation. Ember City is one of their best tracks live and I personally feel it could slip into any one of their albums and fit right in.

  14. Yeah Crack the Skye is great but no progressive rock album will ever be as perfect as the masterpiece known as “Killroy was Here” by the audio auteurs Styx 😉

  15. This one is significant to me for a lot of reasons. My wife and I were moving to a new town, about four hours from where we'd met. We bought our first house, and I was facing this existential dread about the place. I remember switching over to a local rock station in the car as the city came into view and hearing those titanic first notes of Oblivion for the first time. Nothing in metal had really spoken to me in a long time. This was a beast of a whole different type, thick and heavy on a whole new level.

    I couldn't really digest it the first time around, but I checked it out immediately in the hotel on my laptop and was blown away. When I talked to my friends back home about it, I know I must've sounded demented "Dude, it's like Genesis or Yes. Practically the whole band sings like it's an Alabama track. But the wall of gritty rhythm at the center of it is barbaric metal."

    For me, I pretty much love the whole gamut. New and Old. Oblivion roped me in, but I fell in love with Leviathan soon after. The talent and diverse influences on display is nuts.

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