mastodon_cover-newARTIST: Mastodon

ALBUM: Crack the Skye

SOUNDS LIKE: RAWWWWWWWWWWK!

FUN FACT: CTS is a concept album based on a quadriplegic boy's time/space travels to czarist Russia where he kicks it with Rasputin and returns to earth all healed-up and ready to RAWWWWWWWWWWK! (We sorta extrapolated that last part, but we're assuming that's the first thing a newly-ambulatory young dude fresh off a little astral jaunt would do, especially if ol' Ras had gifted him an iPod with Mastodon on it.)

WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT: 'Cause sometimes we like to burn a joint, ride the front car on the subway, and gig out on the tunnels while listening to prog-metal at brainstem-rattling volumes. You got a problem with that?...

OK, seriously, we don't know a whole lot about metal and we're a couple weeks late with this one (CTS dropped March 24), but we've been checking for Mastodon for a few years now and their new LP does not disappoint. This is their fourth album, and, building off their last, Blood Mountain, it's their most "ambitious" to date (meaning the vocals are sung instead of howled and they take their foot off the gas occasionally), a fact that's sure to have the hardcore fanboys bitchin'. But fanboys were born to bitch and while we don't really cut for Pearl Jam, we don't mind what PJ-producer Brendan O'Brien's done with Mastodon. A banjo intro on the first single "Divinations"? We're just surprised no metal band's done it before. A little melotron sprinkled here and there for full classic rock effect? Put your lighters up! And if the high-pitched vocals get to be a little much (we can't front, they're an acquired-but-sometimes-lost taste for us as well), just download the instrumental version of CTS and check out what a Yes/Fucking Champs/Doobie Brothers collab might sound like.

KEY TRACKS (LISTEN):

"Divinations"

"The Last Baron"

"Crack the Skye" (instrumental)

P.S. You can buy CST on Amazon for $8.99 HERE, but Mastodon is coming out with a limited edition LP May 5th and their covers are dope in a metal-head Pen and Pixel sort of way, so you may want to wait and cop that.