Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crack the Skye

Once again, I'm amazed at how music you resist time after time finds a way of eventually capturing your attention. And your enjoyment, I might add. This time, it's on Mastodon.

Recap: when I first heard the name Mastodon online (probably on Pitchfork or the Sound Opinions Message Board), I thought this was referring to that side-project by former Strife frontman, Rick Rodney. Rodney was the band, playing everything, and there was a song by him on the Songs for the Brokenhearted compilation put out by Glue Factory. The reason why I had the comp was because Jimmy Eat World had a rare song on it: their version of the Wedding Present's "Spangle."

When I kept hearing about Mastodon as a metal band, I wondered if this was still Rick Rodney's project. Granted, he sang for a pretty intense metal/hardcore band before, but I would not classify his work under the Mastodon moniker as metal.

Finally I figured out that Mastodon the metal band did not, or ever have, Rodney in the lineup. Made up of members from Atlanta and Alabama, they got plenty of nice mentions for their Remission and Leviathan albums, and even more praise was given to their major label debut, Blood Mountain. I wasn't impressed by Blood Mountain completely, but I figured this would be a grower of an album, so I bought it.

I also rented The Workhorse Chronicles DVD and dug the interviews as well as the plethora of live footage. These guys seemed like an exception to the metal rule: they weren't trying to be the heaviest band in the world. Rather, they were trying to be the best band they could be. Still, something just didn't fully sink in with me about these guys. Seemed to me, they liked the play a lot of riffs and sing/scream, but as far as full-fledged songs with punch? That had yet to be convincing for me.

When the band's fourth proper album, Crack the Skye, came out earlier this year, I took a listen. Once again, their music just sounded like a bunch of calculated riffs and snappy snare and tom tom fills. So I passed another record of theirs off. But something happened when I heard a brief snippet of the album's title track on a recent episode of Sound Opinions. Just that snippet alone made me want to hear the album again. Hearing the album again, I figured it was time to revisit this band as a whole.

Now I'm at a point where I'm bouncing between listens to Leviathan and Crack the Skye quite a bit. And something that I have not done since college is go back and listen to a band's back catalog because one or two albums just aren't enough.

I have no real explanation of why this is the way I get into certain bands. No matter how much resistance I have to them initially, there seems to be a way that I "get" them, even if it's long since past how cool they are to those who are eternally skinny, always look like they just woke up, and rarely shave their faces on a regular basis.

1 comment:

Evan said...

Wow. I know you may not want to add me as an affiliate, let alone comment back on my page, but I love the new Mastodon CD. And I also love your review on it. Much better than my review...