Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Skyclad : "Forward Into the Past"

When folk metal made it's boom a few years back this is the first band that came to mind. The opening song reminds me of a more driving version of "Stonehenge" which I think is a fitting place to say this brand of metal was born. Coming from 1990 there is a fair amount of thrash influence injected into their vision of what would be known as folk metal. The vocals are the least dynamic element of the band.The songs are very compact. They prove that you don't have to have everything at over ten minutes in order to capture and epic feel. Even though they openly embrace their more old school approach to metal they attack they songs with an aggression not often found in the frolicking of folk metal. On "Change is Coming' they show that you can have the best of a both worlds. They couple a very celebratory tone with a commanding mood.

"Starstruck' does have a happier tone to it. I think this compromises the heaviness. "Heavy Price to Pay"bemoans sexual dysfunction due to drinking too much. It seems to take it self more seriously than the previous song. I like the tinge of melancholy that reminds me of Marillion on "Words Fail Me" . Some of the double guitar lines remind me of Iron Maiden, whose influence can be heard on the more mid-paced songs. "The title track just kinda meanders around a more straight forward hard rock. I think "Queen of the Moors" is a much more interesting song.The bass playing on this song with pretty top notch. There is groove to "Last Summer's Rain" which makes it a little more interesting. The guitar work on this album is great, which considering how these guys are old pros it should be.

The vocals to "the Measure" are pretty cheesy and kill the song for me. It's to the point where it sounds like some amateur shit you would here from a local band on a thursday night. They prove they know better on "Borderline" which is a good balance of melody in the metal. The guitars blaze around the vocals. It is played aggressively without being what I think of as heavy, but it works well as a song which at the end of the day is what matters. I'll round this album up to an 8.5 I think it's a welcomed return to form for them and aside from the one mis-step is a solid album that only sounded dated when it comes to the vocals and even they can prove to be endearing.

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