Like wine, metal is a lifestyle, not a hobby. This said, I have to take a break from the wine to talk about the new Mastodon album, Crack the Skye. I can't can't can't stop listening to this wild beast. The number of influences I hear in it is massive, and includes Ozzy Osbourne, Mike Patton, and Pink Floyd as well as the southern-fried rock of Soilent Green. Equally powerful in originality, this album takes progressive metal (or whatever you want to call it) into new territory through unmitigated musicianship; everything from banjo-picking to Slayer-solos to Isis-drones, funky, jazzy polyrhythms to Cannibal Corpse blast beats, and vocal styles galore: howls, nasal whines (Ozzy Osbourne), gut belches, and all-impressive-Captain-gives-the-order-to-charge-into-certain-death bellows. In short, this album makes me very happy and renews my faith in a band that lost my faith with Blood Mountain.
Album Highlight: It takes a very special group of musicians at a very special point in their careers to create a 13+ minute metal song that never once loses momentum.