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This is definitely my favourite Skyclad album of all time. Why? Because it merges all the good things in music into a 43 minutes long masterpiece of folk metal. Are you looking for catchy melodies? You will find them here. Do you want to hear good riffs? Those are included. Want a good laugh while reading the lyrics? Yup. Searching for a "second bottom" about the meaning of love or other philosophical issues in the lyrics? Hell, even that is here. And with all that this is still the same Skyclad you know and love from the previous albums.
The melody lines, choruses and riffs are as always top quality. I can assure you that you are bound to sing along to the songs and by the time the music ends you'll be disappointed that you can't hear the guitars and violins anymore. The album is actually very diverse, the first part (songs 1-4) are jolly and typically folkish (maybe except for the lyrics, but I'll return to that later) with a very fast tempo (especially "On With Their Heads"). The next part (5-8) is a bit slower and more "sad" part where the violins are going deeper into the background while the metal part is going up, especially in the song "A Well Beside the River" where the violins are pretty much non-existant, while the track is led by slow yet strong riffs and the song itself a bit reminds me of Megadeth (but that's probably just me). The song "Bury Me" is similar in the musical way to track 5 while the violins grandly return in "Cancer of the Heart". Also, "No Strings Attached" is a pleasant ballad, not pushed too hard and is a fine pause from the harshness of the previous and upcoming track. The last part of the album (9-11) is something of a "I guess I gotta move on" part. The music returns to joy and you can really feel the sense of hope behind the track "Something to Cling To". All of the songs have *very* catchy choruses and absolutely great vocal performances from Martin Walkyier.
While at it, Martin Walkyier is probably the best part of this CD. In one interview, he stated that "Vintage Whine was a very personal album" and you can hear that. All the vocal parts are sang with a true passion in them. Also, the lyrics that he writes are superb. From absolutely hilarious ("On With Their Heads!") to kind of philosophical and reflective ("Cancer of the Heart") yet all of them are highly sophisticated and to understand them in full, you'll definitely need a good knowledge of the English language. But, as I stated before they're not typically folkish, however they're definitely skycladish, because I don't really think that any other folk metal band has sarcastic lyrics about sentencing everyone the singer despises to death.
To sum up, in my opinion "Vintage Whine" is a flawless masterpiece and is a must for all fans of folk or for people who are not familiar with the genre or the band but want to find out what's it all about.
In other words - get it now or Martin the First will get your head off your shoulders.