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FUCK YEAH!! But they should have stuck to an EP. - 75%

RageW, November 23rd, 2008

THIS is how folk metal should be done! No chugchug’ness, no polka influenced stuff, just plain kickass heavy metal with a touch of fiddles and hobbit stuff. Skyclad have everything right—they managed to marry the folk melodies with the guitar riffs in a way few bands can; and it’s not that hard! Take the fiddles, make a catchy melody, put a cool riff below them, and then have a kickass singer singing kickass lyrics! There’s Martin Walkyier, that cynic bastard, with an instantly recognizable voice, and the fucker is displayed in all his venom spitting glory when singing all those great lyrics. These fuckers know, that if your music isn’t all that great by itself, then you must have incredibly awesome lyrics to complement it! And Skyclad have, hands down, the best lyrics ever this side of Iron Maiden. Satirical pricks, they’re both funny and elegant all at the same time! Feat that few bands achieve without becoming a self-parody and you laugh at their stupidity—well, that doesn’t happen on MY ‘clad, though! And that Walkyier fellow just makes everything a lot more interesting with his British accent all over the place.

I would have honestly given Oui Avant-Garde a Chance (‘We haven’t got a chance’…Where do they come up with those?) a much higher score, if it weren’t so long thanks to those re-mixes at the end. Had those songs been put in an EP aside from this, and had Skyclad written a bunch more of winner numbers, then I’d give this at least 10 points more! But we have 6 ‘normal’ tracks, and then 6 re-mixes/B-Sides, and that holds this album down, since I want a full-length, dammit! Also, there are plenty of what the fuck Batman moments, but it’s worth it, just too fucking worth it.

Anyways, we start with the catchiest, funniest, pretty much best shit EVER!!; “If I Die Laughing, It'll Be an Act of God”. This song just has ‘WINNAR’ written all over it, and it’s the best song Skyclad ever wrote; never to be dethroned. Its fun, fun fun, catchy, catchy, catchy, and I just love it! Seriously, the best time I heard it, I had just finished listening to Boris’ Absolutego, and it was 1 o’clock in the morning. I wasn’t feeling very good; since Boris is so monumental and epic that it pretty much steals all of your energies and positive feelings (it’s actually a good thing when listening to drone). But, then I popped this album on my stereo, and I started GRINNING immediately. It starts with a drum roll, and then, one of the most painfully happy fiddle melodies ever kicks in; that alone and I was already smiling. But I was reading the lyrics along; and they were so awesomely anti-Christian without morphing into self-parody, that I couldn’t help but start laughing, just happy, natural, laugh. I believe it’s the only song that has ever had that effect on me; it made me happy! Music is supposed to put that feeling in you, at least, of satisfaction; and I’m satisfied if I’m all full of joy and stuff. Also, that chorus is so goddamn catchy, that, along the second chorus with backing vocals, it’s all good. Then there’s a very bluesy solo, nothing too overwhelmingly technical; but it suits the song perfectly. And when it ends, I just want it to start again…That’s how music should make you feel, in my opinion.

Ok, so maybe no other song can match the huge levels of WIN contained within the opener; but the rest is pretty interesting as well. There’s the wonderfully titled “Great Blow for a Day Job”, are you fucking serious? I mean, that’s just pure genius right there; where the hell does Walkyier find all that shit? Anyways, it’s not a metal song; it’s what I would call Hobbit Music™. Seriously, I can picture the little bastards running all around The Shire, while some small, old, and fat hobbit plays the fiddle and everyone is clapping to the rhythm in a very painteresque scene. Let’s not forget that, folk metal + dwarves = Spinal Tap. It can’t get more WINNAR than that. It has incredibly funny, tongue in cheek lyrics, “I have put my pen to paper and eternally am damned,/I've squandered my immortal soul by singing in a fiddle band.”. I laughed at that phrase, as with most of Walkyier’s lyrics. It’s so fun, it grabs you (by the balls), and doesn’t let you go.

Another of my favorites is “Constance Eternal”, with a very beautiful intro, and Walkyier’s soft voice over it. The song has a very ethereal feel, and it makes you feel really good. Well, the rest is similar, fun, catchy, folk metal, with tons of sing-along choruses, and incredibly good lyrics. It’s sad for me to give this album a 75%, since it’s so good…! Then, “Postcard from Planet Earth” is really weird, in an almost psychedelic fashion, and it almost reminds me of Pink Floyd. “Planet earth is great to visit, but you wouldn’t like to live there”, too true; those skeptic sons of bitches should write a book. And did I mention everything is REALLY FUCKING CATCHY?

This is a must have—ignore the review’s score; I just gave it that since I feel they should have released it as a full length, with much more songs. It’s a waste to put those B-Sides at the end, since this could have morphed into one of the best folk albums ever; or at least, the best Skyclad album ever did.