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Get it for the Outrageous Fourtunes tracks - 70%

Hattori, February 18th, 2004

The first 8 tracks of this album are from the Skyclad's '95 appearance at the Dynamo festival. As the band had just released Silent Whales of Lunar Sea, all but three live tracks are from that album. If Silent Whales is your favorite 'Clad album, you'll salivate at the tracklist, which includes "Still Spinning Shrapnel," "Art-Nazi," "Just What Nobody Wanted," and "Another Fine Mess." However, if your favorite Skyclad release is anything else, you won't be happy at all. Where's Schadenfreude? Where's R'Vannith? Where's Cry of the Land? I'm the one who’s crying.

It's a shame that Skyclad didn't have more live material in the can, something that would better represent the band's ten album tenure with Walkyier. It's a shame that Walkyier and the remaining members couldn't cooperate to release something better. Walkyier blames the band for this; the band blames Walkyier. It's the fans who lose.

To Skyclad's credit, the live songs are all faithfully translated from the studio. Track selection aside, my main complaint about the show itself is the lack of banter between songs. The live songs on the Tracks of the Wilderness EP and the Thinking Allowed? single featured little introductions by Walkyier, but nothing like that appears on "Another Fine Mess."

I don't blame Skyclad for this album. When Walkyier left, the label threatened to release this performance anyway, so Skyclad got involved to ensure that there wouldn't be a shit album cover and one-page booklet. The liner notes make the band sound more enthusiastic about this stopgap recording than they probably are.

What saves this release is the inclusion of the impossible-to-find Outrageous Fourtunes EP. The EP was originally handed out with promo copies of The Answer Machine?, and it features four Skyclad classics redone in the mellower Answer Machine style. These tracks---Land of the Rising Slum, Sins of Emission, Alone in Death's Shadow, and Spinning Jenny--reappear on Another Fine Mess in all their acousitic glory.

As "Alone in Death's Shadow" was a ballad in the first place, the new version has little extra to offer. Sins of Emission sounds a lot like the version that would later appear on No Daylights Nor Heeltaps, only better, while Land of the Rising Slum has been morphed into an atmospheric doom song. The highlight, however, is Spinning Jenny. The lyrics and bounce of the original have been removed, and we're left with a medieval-sounding, very solemn instrumental. Every person I've played this song for, metalhead and non-metalhead alike, think the track is absolutely stunning.

Overall, "Another Fine Mess" would appeal most to Skyclad completists. It's essentially the Outrageous Fourtunes EP with live bonus tracks.