Mastodon is most definitely fucking with us. According to interviews, the band’s fourth studio album tells the story of a paraplegic who leaves his body to travel through wormholes in outer space, and, as Stephen Hawking predicted, this leads to his soul being forced inside of Russian mystic Rasputin’s nigh-unkillable body. And here’s what it actually sounds like: Thudda thudda thudda thudda thudda RRRRAHHHH chugga chugga chugga BLAM. That’s not to say Skye isn’t an intricate piece of musicianship, because it is. As usual, Mastodon manages to make metal palatable to indie-rock wusses by cutting the most abrasive bits with classic-rock interludes and sacrificing supreme heaviness for experimentation. Check out the wicked banjo at the beginning of “Divination,” the X-Files keyboards and hair-metal “fight the devil” fist-pumping in “The Czar,” the classical guitar and Church of Satan boys choir on “The Last Baron.” If all that makes it sound like Mastodon’s lost its edge, check out nearly any other second of the album; odds are it’s filled to the brim with savage screams and scalding riffs. That burning feeling is a wormhole being bored into your brain.
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