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Crack the Skye is the fourth studio album by American progressive metal band Mastodon, released on March 24, 2009 through Reprise Records. It features seven tracks and runs at 50 minutes and 3 seconds. The album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200, selling 41,000 copies in its first week. In Australia, the album debuted at number 19. It has sold 250,000 copies to date. "Crack the Skye" has been released as standard CD, CD/DVD, limited-edition 2xLP that contains the album on CD, standard single-disc LP, a "super-deluxe" CD/DVD version that includes a tunnel book and a lithograph of the album art (this version sold out during pre-orders), and will be released in a "Royal Edition" with a CD of the instrumental versions of the songs, amongst other bonuses.

Musical and lyrical themes

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 Russiamarker, astral travel, out of body experiences and Stephen Hawking's theories on wormholes.

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


Paul Romano, who has contributed to Mastodon's albums in the past, created the artwork 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.

Critical reception

Initial critical response to Crack the Skye was extremely positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a "universal acclaim" rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received a score of 82, based on 29 reviews. It is also currently the second highest rated album of 2009 according to the Rate Your Music website.

Crack the Skye received positive reviews from many major reviewing sites. Total Guitar awarded the album a 5/5 rating, describing it as "even more ambitious in scope and sound than 2006’s Blood Mountain. Embracing elements of prog and country, but above all classic rock, Hinds and Kelliher literally add new dimensions to the band’s ever-expanding sound." Decibel who awarded Blood Mountain as their number 1 album of 2006, gave Crack the Skye a 7/10 rating as reviewer Joe Gross responded that "Crack is clearly designed as a grower, not a shower, the sound of a band that grew tired of people not responding to their ground game, so they put the ball in the air. Who knows when it will come down?" Clash's review was particularly glowing in its praise for the album, saying "no metal release of 2009 is likely to be as important as ‘Crack The Skye’ except CKY's 'Carver City'." The review praised the album's expansive sound and emotion, and finished by claiming that the album is "surely destined to become the stuff of legend." Reviewer Nate Chinen of the New York Times noted the album's "ambitious vision and vivid execution." The New Yorker pop music critic Sasha Frere-Jones lists it as one of his favorite albums of the year on his personal blog and in an article for The New Yorker called the Crack the Skye a "deeply entertaining album." Among the few negative reviews, Sputnikmusic raised complaints about Mastodon's lyrics and songwriting, citing "epic fee-fi-fo-fum drivel," "boorish palm-muted chugging in the verses," and that their non-metal ideas are "contrived and half-baked." .

Track listing


  • The Making of Crack the Skye - An exclusive behind the scenes documentary
  • Track-by-Track Commentary - Video commentary of the album by the band
  • Photo Gallery - Slide of various images from the band




Chart (2009) Peak

Australian ARIA Albums Chart 19
Austrian Albums Chart 42
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders) 26
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia) 73
Canadian Albums Chart 13
Danish Albums Chart 37
Dutch Albums Chart 56
Finnish Albums Chart 6
French Albums Chart 106
New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart 23
Norwegian Albums Chart 6
Swedish Albums Chart 23
Swiss Albums Chart 58
UK Albums Chart 32
U.S. Billboard 200 11


  1. Mastodon On New Album And Supporting Metallica and Slayer, The Quietus (2008-11-04)
  2. Mastodon On New Album And Supporting Metallica and Slayer, The Quietus (2008-11-04)
  3. Progress Report: Mastodon, Stereogum (2008-11-26)
  4. [1]
  6. Hilson, Keri. "Critics' Choice", New York Times, March 22, 2009. Retrieved on 03/22/09.
  8. [
  9. "Mastodon - Crack the Skye Review.", "Sputnikmusic," March 25, 2009. Retrieved on 4/3/09.
  10. Top Canadian Albums
  11. Billboard 200

External links

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