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Skull & Bones - The Cursed Island Award winner

Skull & Bones
The Cursed Island
by Marcus Kemp at 25 July 2014, 5:06 AM

Avast ye scurvy dogs! It’s time for us to set sail and take to the high seas for we be pirates in search of treasure and booty. Sorry I couldn’t help myself there but hopefully that should give you a clue as to what this review is about. It’s not uncommon for bands to reference a golden age of a certain period of history in their music and for the debut album from Argentinian Epic Power Metal band SKULL & BONES that is exactly what they have done as their debut album “The Cursed Island” takes us back in time to the golden age of piracy. So, is this is an album that has enabled SKULL & BONES to strike gold and find their buried treasure or should they walk the plank? That’s what I aim to find out here in this review.

Hailing from Buenos Aires in Argentina, this 5 piece Power Metal band formed in 2011 and have so far only released one album which is their debut “The Cursed Island” released independently on their own in 2014. For their lyrical influences, the band has taken inspiration from various themes dating back to the golden age of piracy while referencing actual historic pirates and those you read about in fictional stories.

The album opens up with a short two minute instrumental called “Admiral Benbow Inn” before launching into the first vocal track called “The Chest of Billy Bones” and upon first impressions, this definitely sounds like a Folk Metal track but then the music does use flutes, mandolins, piccolos, harps and even bagpipes as well so that gives you an idea of what they are about. I never thought that Folk Metal would really work as a genre but here it actually works and it’s not bad.

The album clocks in at 40 minutes with a total of five instrumentals (“Admiral Benbow Inn”, “The Hispaniola, “Set Sail”, “Anthem for the Buccaneer” and “Skeleton Island”) and eight vocal tracks. There is a good balance between the vocal and instrumental tracks for the first 9 or 10 songs and the remainder is a few vocal tracks that play one after another. As someone who has never listened to Power Metal before yet alone Power Metal with Folk influences, I am actually quite impressed with this debut from SKULL & BONES.

One of the reasons why I am impressed is as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, there is a good balance between the vocal and instrumental tracks. The pirate influences do show in the music during the five instrumentals and in the lyrics in the eight vocal tracks. As someone who does not know anything about pirates, you could say that I have been given a history lesson here in piracy.

The lyrics reference pirates from both real stories as well as fictional stories with a lot of them coming from the Treasure Island novel by Robert Louis Stevenson including Billy Bones, Blind Pew, Black Dog, Ben Gunn and Long John Silver. As someone who has never read that novel, it has given me an insight into the actual stories just by listening to the music but if you have read that novel then you will know those characters.

So what do I think about this album? The music is good, it’s very historic and as a lover of Metal music I do enjoy this release. The delivery of the music is just right for a Metal release, the music is well produced for a Metal album, the keyboard melodies in places sound very haunting for the themes of this album, there are a lot of heavy riffs from the guitars, bass and drums and the vocal delivery is clear and crisp.

So have SKULL & BONES struck gold and discovered their buried treasure? The answer is yes they have as I thoroughly enjoyed “The Cursed Island” as the use of Folk instruments here in a Power Metal album adds a certain uniqueness to it alongside the performances of the skilled musicians involved in this record. I highly recommend this if you are into your Power Metal or are looking to get into the genre and these songs would work very well in a film or TV series which is all about the golden age of piracy.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Admiral Benbow Inn
2. The Chest of Billy Bones
3. The Hispaniola
4. Ready for Quest
5. Set Sail!
6. Rum for the Crew
7. Anthem for the Buccaneer
8. Long John Silver
9. Skeleton Island
10. Powder & Guns
11. Death & Treasure
12. Treachery March
13. Captain Flint’s Booty
Lineup:
Alan Puyol - Keyboards, Flute
Tomás Vega - Guitars, Backing Vocals Vocals
Franco Tempesta -Vocals, Mandolin, Harp
Sebastián Persini - Drums
Nicolás Ciancio - Bass
Santiago Molina - Bagpipes
Agustín Santangelo - BackingVocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 21 October 2018
 

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