Sludge Art

Mar 3

Crack The Skye

In my personal opinion, this is one of the most beautiful Metal albums ever. With amazing riffs, cosmic lyrics, great voices, stunning artwork and magnificent concept this album can kick any sense and make you fall in a space journey. The lyrics of “Oblivion” and “Divinations” reminds me the Arthur C. Clarck masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey”, all that majesty involved in a space travel across light tunnels and the reach of the superman never stop to amaze me. So far my second favorite Sludge album.

Crack the Skye is the fourth studio album by American sludge metal band Mastodon, released on March 24, 2009 through Reprise Records. It features seven tracks and runs at 50 minutes and 6 seconds.

According to an interview on the DVD The Making of Crack the Skye, this album represents the element of aether, which is represented by the souls and spirits of all things, a theme closely related to the context of the album. Because the elements of fire, water and earth have already represented by the band’s first three albums Remission, Leviathan and Blood Mountain, respectively, the element of air is the only classical element which has yet to be represented by a Mastodon album.

Drummer Brann Dailor described the album as more “focused” than its predecessor, Blood Mountain: “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.”

Vocalist/bassist Troy Sanders said in an interview with Stereogum, “Crack The Skye is a departure from everything we’ve previously recorded in the sense that we kinda strapped on our aeroshells and departed from Earth for a while, and then captained to the ethereal element of the universe and kind of slept on the roof of the world for a while to get a perspective on this record. … Basically we’re exploring the ethereal world. We’re dissecting the dark matter that dominates the universe, in a nutshell.”

When asked in multiple interviews Dailor said the record would tell a story dealing variously with the art aesthetics of Tsarist Russia, astral travel, out of body experiences and Stephen Hawking’s theories on wormholes.

"There is a paraplegic and the only way that he can go anywhere is if he astral travels. He goes out of his body, into outer space and a bit like Icarus, he goes too close to the sun, burning off the golden umbilical cord that is attached to his solar plexus. So he is in outer space and he is lost, he gets sucked into a wormhole, he ends up in the spirit realm and he talks to spirits telling them that he is not really dead. So they send him to the Russian cult, they use him in a divination and they find out his problem. They decide they are going to help him. They put his soul inside Rasputin’s body. Rasputin goes to usurp the czar and he is murdered. The two souls fly out of Rasputin’s body through the crack in the sky(e) and Rasputin is the wise man that is trying to lead the child home to his body because his parents have discovered him by now and think that he is 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."

Dailor has also said that “Crack the Skye” is meant as an homage to his sister, Skye Dailor, who committed suicide at age 14.

"My sister passed away when I was a teenager and it was awful, and there’s no better way to pay tribute to a lost loved one than having an opportunity to be in a group with my friends and we make art together. Her name was Skye, so Crack the Skye means a lot of different things. For me personally, it means the moment of being told you lost someone dear to you, (that moment) is enough to crack the sky."

Paul Romano, who had done all of Mastodon’s artwork to that point, created the album art for Crack the Skye. The piece features various ethereal images tied in closely with the overall concept of the record. Crack the Skye was released in two editions: the Standard and the Limited Edition. The latter has an elaborate packaging with a tunnel book that, when looked through, reveals three-dimensional like imagery. A “hidden” picture of Brann Dailor’s sister, Skye, can be seen on both sides of the tunnel book as well.