Mastodon's Crack the Skye gets release date, deluxe package

Michael Saba
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When Mastodon unveiled the next installation of its routinely epic cover art for forthcoming LP Crack the Skye, metalheads the world over could feel their double-bass-drum senses tingling. Then more details trickled out: Astral travel! Tsarist Russia! Stephen Hawking! Wormholes! A multi-part instrumental suite that'll send prog-heads running for their fox masks! (Are we sure this isn't a Decemberists album we're talking about here?) After three long years marinating in the studio, Crack the Skye will finally hit stores March 24.

Mastodon just revealed in a press release that as of today, Feb. 12, you can pre-order a deluxe "Tunnel Book" version of Crack the Skye at Mastodon's website (just in time for Valentine's Day!). The Tunnel Book will feature a handsome three-dimensional wormhole cover designed by longtime Mastodon illustrator Paul Romano, as well as a DVD with photos, track-by-track commentary, and a making-of featurette. All pre-orders will include an exclusive 14"x14" lithograph, and the first few orders will be hand-signed by the band.

On Feb. 16, will launch, which touts an "extremely visual, user-controlled cyber journey into the inner sanctum of Crack the Skye. Content will be thematically based on the album's concepts, artwork, images, lyrics, videos, and its unique packaging through engaging visuals and music from Crack the Skye intended to accompany and enhance the experience of listening to the album in its entirety." In other words, Dark Side of the Rainbow for the headbanger set.

1. Oblivion
2. Divinations
3. Quintessence
4. The Czar
     a) Usurper
     b) Escaper
     c) Martyr
     d) Spiral
5. Ghost of Karelia
6. Crack the Skye
7. The Last Baron

Get ready to strap on your aeroshell and leave Earth for a while: Crack the Skye is out March 24 on Reprise Records.

Related links:
Catching Up With... Mastodon
YouTube: Mastodon - "Iron Tusk"

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