I’m a bit overwhelmed right now. I think I’m listening to an album that is likely to be one of my favorite albums of all time. It’s the new Mastodon album — Crack the Skye.
Let me try to explain why this is good metal. I think it’s because it has some concept behind it. It’s not real stuff, but that might even make it stronger. In my opinion, the best metal often has a magical or spiritual element to it. And much of the good metal has stories woven in.
In the case of this new album, it’s got an incredible one. From Wikipedia:
Mastodon’s fourth album Crack the Skye was released on March 24, 2009 as a normal version and a deluxe version (which includes all songs in instrumental versions as well as their normal versions) and entered the Billboard 200 at number 11 a week later.
The album is produced by Brendan O’Brien  and Scott Kelly of Neurosis returns as a guest musician on the title-track. In a MusicRadar interview, guitarist Bill Kelliher confirmed the album is about an “out of body experience,” and looks at the concepts of astral travel, wormholes, Stephen Hawking’s theories and the spiritual realm.
The album follows a quadriplegic who learns astral projection. On his journey he flies too close to the sun, burning his umbilical cord which connects him to his body, and flies into oblivion. At the same time in Czarist Russia, Rasputin and his cult were channeling spirits and brought the quadriplegic to their time.
Sure, so that’ll get you started. It reminds me of the old Queensryche or Mercyful Fate/Diamond with the story stuff, and the lyrics are just great. But it’s the music that makes it. Very strong melodies combined with strong technicality. It’s so good that it’s not just good for metal folks; it’s good…music.
If you like metal at all, or if you read my site and have an open mind to music–either way — Buy. This. Now. ::