It does not get much better than Crack the skye, the latest album from heavy metal outfit Mastodon. Forget the eyeliner-wearing, prissy stuff that passes for metal nowadays, Mastodon is the real deal and Crack the skye is their masterpiece. If you like your metal heavy, and without all the whining and crying of modern so-called hardcore, then this is the band for you.

It was hard to imagine a better album than Mastodon’s 2006 Blood Mountain, but Crack the skye manages to take everything great about the band’s back catalog and turn it up to eleven. Working with producer Brendan O’Brian, the guy behind just about every major album of the nineties, the band brings their heavy chaotic style to whole new heights. The songs are nothing short of epic, weaving into an over arcing concept of Czarist Russia. Wrap your head around that for a second.

Despite all the mainstream attention and the big name producer, Crack the skye is hardly radio friendly. With seven songs clocking in at just over fifty minutes, the band doesn’t seem too concerned with putting together a bunch of singles for the record label. “Oblivion,” the opening track and catchiest song on the entire record, is nearly six minutes long and strays far from the typical chorus, verse, chorus breakdown of top forty hits.

Crack the skye is the kind of metal album you can hang out and listen to with your dad, assuming your dad listens to Black Sabbath and early Metallica. Nostalgic while still sounding fresh and unique, this is what old school metal fans have been waiting patiently for. It’s heavy, epic, and masterful. On top of all that, it’s the sound of a band at the top of their game and the kind of record that will have bands years from now no doubt saying, “I want to make an album like Crack the skye.”