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Skyclad -In The … All Together pic disc


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Picture disc with die cut cover and fold out lyric insert. Limited 350 copies

Skyclad, the seminal British band, often referred to as ‘the originators of Folk Metal’, have signed a deal with Scarlet Records. Formed in 1990 by Martin Walkyer (Sabbat) and Steve Ramsey (Satan/Pariah), the band gained extraordinary attention from both the press and the public with the now legendary debut album ‘The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth’ (1991) and, since then, has built up a solid reputation which led them to take part in some of the most important international metal events (such as the renowned Dynamo, Wacken, Gods of Metal and Tuska Festivals) and share the stage with some of the most respected artists of their time. Five years has passed since the ‘A Semblance Of Normality’ and if any musician follows their own path and don’t compromise then after a five years absence then most are sure to be end up being completely forgotten. Now I seriously wish this was the ultimate Skyclad record, just to throw it in the face of everything trendy those days, including most of the folk metal genre they contributed to create. However I’ll be honest. This isn’t the best Skyclad. Can it still kill though? Yes it can, and more than once. First there’s no Skyclad record without a great opener, and to this respect Words Upon the Streets lives up to any expectancy. Once the first thirty seconds of awkward computer sounds have elapsed, what follows is in the pure tradition of the ‘Clad’s most direct, uncompromising first tracks in the lines of Thinking Allowed or Civil War Dance. Indeed, that’s what may be the most striking: though the production has been updated to keep in touch with the style of the day, the song in itself doesn’t really differ from typical 90’s Skyclad. And perhaps what’s the most significant, Kevin Ridley sings in harsh vocals. Of course harsh shouldn’t be understood as growls or anything of the genre, and even in his later days Martin Walkyier most of time still sounded more aggressive. But now think about the following: even on the heaviest tracks of A Semblance of Normality (let’s say, Ten Little Kingdoms) Ridley’s voice stayed perfectly clean. This is all but anecdotal. Still I don’t think there’s any conscious will from the British band to return to its roots or anything. First, a complete return to the roots would imply Skyclad playing thrash again, and this will most probably never happen. Second there wasn’t any valuable reason for such a return to begin with as A Semblance of Normality, while different from the rest, was nonetheless one of the ‘Clad’s best albums. But with its overall slower tempo, its additional orchestra and the lesser importance given to folk elements, it now appears to have been nothing but a dead end. Who knows, perhaps had it been intended as such from the beginning? Now with the disappearance of the orchestra and the violin coming back to the front of the scene as a direct consequence, with the return of the harsh vocals and the folk elements, the story begins again where it had stopped – before A Semblance of Normality. Alright, they’re now singing about cell phones and laptops. So what? In 1996 they were singing about French nuclear tests. We’re no longer in 1996, we’re in 2009, France is no longer testing its nuclear arsenal, and new technologies have invaded our lives. Let’s sing about new technologies. The title says it all, times might have changed but we’re still in the same **** all together. Its Skyclad and there are a lot of tracks worth mentioning here but also a lot of fillers which makes it a bit frustrating. If it would have been recorded at the height of Skyclad’s productivity boost there wouldn’t have been anything to complain against as first it still carries its load of excellent songs, and then another album would have been following the year after anyway. Here we’ve waited for five years for those mere forty minutes of alas unequal music, and maybe we’ll have to wait for another five years for the sequel.

Track listing:
1. Words Upon The Street
2. Still Small Beer
3. The Well-travelled Man
4. Black Summer Rain
5. Babakoto
6. Hit List
7. Superculture
8. Which Is Why
9. Modern Minds
10. In The… All Together

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Night Of The Vinyl Dead

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