Mastodon: Crack The Skye
There comes a time, usually in early 20s-dom that lads play the ‘compare facial hair’ game and chances are there’s one member of the pack – usually from an unexpected source – that’s got whiskers akin to those that sprut from a rhino’s arsehole.
Brent Hinds was born with that kind of facial hair. He is the ultimate warrior.
Watching him crank his Gibson Flying V is something close to Godly and on Crack The Skye does he crank it. Like Conan he wields his double-handed broadsword with poise, menace and malignancy.
For the most part sludge, King Crimson Red-era triangular riffs and slow detonations of power are thrust to the fore – hypnotic, massive in their psychosis – but Hinds knows how to rip it up.
Check four minutes into the four-part 11-minute suite The Czar when a sabretooth slice of six-string savagery cuts through the speakers. It’s monumental – and coupled with Troy Sanders‘ (literal) roar there’s few sounds this year so ferocious.
But, as keen followers of these Atlanta Georgians will appreciate, Mastodon are as much aligned to the cerebral as they are to the visceral. The madcap concept this time round is doubly more convoluted than their Herman Melville‘s Moby Dick-inspired Leviathan; here, a lad is transported through time only to meet Rasputin who in turn bodysnatches the youngster to avoid assassination. Or summat.
I’ve little time for nonsense – after all I’m still trying to figure out how to decipher The Mars Volta’s Bedlam riddle. I’d rather marvel at more ace cover art from Paul A Romano.
Then of course there’s the music: the curve ball banjo intro of their tightest single to date Divinations, shout yourself silly to the ‘LET IT GO!‘ refrain of Quintessence or simply marvel at the machine-gun attack of Brann Dailor behind the kit before Bill Kelliher and Hinds unleash their awesome guitar armoury on epic closer The Last Baron.
Crack The Skye is the creation of something otherworldly. Mastodon: mightier than man.
For fans of: Prehistoric wildlife parks, dark rum, cloudsurfing.
Mastodon on TV