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Skinflint - Chief of the Ghosts Award winner

Chief of the Ghosts
by Lauren Fonto at 01 August 2017, 12:04 PM

Many metalheads already know of the leather-clad “cowboy metalheads” of Botswana, and SKINFLINT is probably one of the most well-known bands from the Botswanan scene. “Chief of the Ghosts” continues the band’s tradition of mixing old-school heavy metal with Botswanan mythos, with songs partly sung in their native language of Setswana.

“Borankana Metal” sets the scene with clapping, shakers and whoops. Kebonye Nkoloso’s rock-solid bass playing provides the launchpad for Giuseppe Sbrana’s impressive lead guitar work. “Ram of Fire” is an addictive piece of traditional heavy metal. Like the other tracks on this album, there’s a rustic simplicity to the music, but the technical competence of all three musicians is by no means lacking. “Anyoto Aniota” has a memorable chorus – with some great fills from Alessandra Sbrana - and a groove that’s likely to stay in your head a while. G. Sbrana’s nimble solo is one of the high points of the track. Unlike previous material, this album has touches of stoner/doom metal; the IRON MAIDEN influences are still here, along with some BLACK SABBATH vibes.

A melancholy, doom metal vibe brings in the second half of the album. “Rainbow Snakes” opens with drifting, slow riffs. The vocals add to the sinister feel, and the guitar solo is ethereal. This track also has sweeping, MAIDEN-like riffs. “Milk Fever” is an epic number, with twangy bass work from Nkoloso and a trippy guitar solo. The track builds an atmosphere of dread, which perfectly matches the grim story of disease wiping out both beasts of all kinds. A. Sbrana’s cymbal chokes in the chorus work well with G. Sbrana’s staccato vocal phrasing. The album comes to a powerful close with “Anger of the Spirits” and “Chief of the Ghosts”. These two tracks bring the feeling of foreboding to a head, with sinister riffs in abundance, and stellar guitar solos.

“Chief of the Ghosts” is an impressive slice of old-school heavy metal. SKINFLINT is one of Botswana’s most well-known metal bands for good reason, and I’d highly recommend checking them out to those who haven’t heard their music yet.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Borankana Metal
2. Ram of Fire
3. Igungo
4. Anyoto Aniota
5. Ndondoncha
6. Rainbow Snakes
7. Milk Fever
8. Anger of the Spirits
9. Chief of the Ghosts
Giuseppe Sbrana – Vocals, Guitars
Kebonye Nkoloso – Bass
Alessandra Sbrana – Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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