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Skyclad's Best Album - 90%

Messiah_X, October 31st, 2003

This is my favorite album from Skyclad (Wayward Sons of Mother Earth would be a close second for its thrash value). In my opinion, this is where the band found a balanced sound in which the folk and the metal were both symmetrically represented. The thing keeping this review from 100% is the song "Fainting By Numbers" which is by far one of Skyclad's worst songs to date. However, with that exception, this is a near-perfect album. As far as the songs, the highlights of this album are Building a Ruin (my favorite Skyclad song), Worn Out Sole to Heel, Single Phial, and Helium. As with all of Skyclad's work (until recently when he left the band), Martin Walkyier has written some of the wittiest satirical lyrics of any metal band. Through a combination of play on words, sarcasm, irony, and a bit of nihilism, Walkyier has quickly become one of my favorite lyricists for any metal band. This album unfortunately doesn't represent this facet of Skyclad's mastery as well as some others (Prince of the Poverty Line in particular), but still manages to provide some of those lyrics that can make you laugh and think about the futile efforts of the doomed human race all at the same time. As far as the music itself, like I said earlier, this album balances out the folk and metal evenly and effectively. Some songs are heavy and show that Skyclad is undeniably a metal band (Eirenarch), while others show the more mellow, folkish sound that Skyclad is known for (Single Phial). Some songs are very upbeat and happy (Helium), while others can be slower moody songs (Isle of Jura). Then there are the perfect songs like Building A Ruin which prove that Skyclad is at the top of the Folk Metal food chain. There are many who would complain that this isn't metal enough, but for those who can take a break from some of the more traditional extreme metal bands, Skyclad's "The Answer Machine?" is the album to pick up.