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Skyclad - In The...All Together (CD)

Skyclad
In The...All Together
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 18 July 2009, 5:10 PM

When I am thinking of this great fiddle band I cannot but long for albums like Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth and Burnt Offerings For A Bone Idol or the more Avant Garde Jonah's Ark and the later Irrational Anthems. All these albums actually gave a great boost to the Folk Metal while carved some new roads in the Metal music map. Martin Walkier wrote history with SKYCLAD through his caustic and clever lyrics but also spread disappointment and sorrow when he decided to leave the band. Despite this lineup change SKYCLAD did not cease to exist and took the bold decision to promote Kevin Ridley to a full time singer. This effort gave birth to the pretty good A Semblance Of Normality and gave additional kudos to Kevin for his energetic on-stage performance. So, the British band returns with a new album that plans to solidify the new 'structure' and why not rekindle the passion of the old SKYCLAD fans.
From the very beginning the album states that we have to say 'goodbye' to the heavy guitars and try to get used to the overall party-feeling that is now the main part of SKYCLAD's music. Generally, this is ok and the British acts can handle gigs at pubs and small venues with  die hard fans that do not mind having the classic tunes sounding like they did in No Daylights … Nor Heeltaps. As I said above, the band can still deliver passion and energy on-stage but this is not getting in the studio recorded music. The album sounds a little bit 'nerveless' and I think this has mainly to do with Kevin's voice that is kind of mellow although it has the Folk character this music needs.
Words Upon The Street and Modern Minds are the heaviest tracks of the album with a guitar-based structure that has something from the Irrational Anthems era. The violin is more important to the music than ever and sometimes gets on the leading role holding the main melodies and thus enhancing the Folk 'let's party' atmosphere. This does not mean that Kevin is not trying to 'harden' his vocal profile; on the contrary, songs like In The… All Together or The Well-travelled Man reveal some underlying harshness that is slowly building upon his voice making hims sound closer to the SKYCLAD character.
It is also pretty clear that there is an effort to write 'clever' lyrics that shine through the British phlegm and caustic attitude; although it cannot be alleged that they manage to meet Martin's undisputed talent. I believe that with this release SKYCLAD are establishing their presence in the new era that is also marked with the new logo. This album is also an attempt to approach the older SKYCLAD fans who can find one thing or more in this album to get connected. After all, we -the Folk lovers- need this most important band among us and albums like these can raise our expectations for their future evolution.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Words Upon The Street
Still Small Beer
The Well-travelled Man
Black Summer Rain
Babakoto
Hit List
Superculture
Which Is Why
Modern Minds
In The…All Together
Lineup:
Kevin Ridley - Vocals, Guitars
George Biddle - Fiddle, Keyboard, Piano
Steve Ramsey - Guitars
Graeme English - Bass
Arron Walton - Drums
Record Label: Scarlet Records
     


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