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The Quintessential Skyclad - 93%

FuzzyLogic, July 5th, 2005

Well, I must confess that I do NOT like early Skyclad albums. "Wayward Sons of Mother Earth" and "A Burnt Offering For The Bone Idol" are too noisy, muddy and dull. Moreover, there seems to be a serious lack of musical virtuosity. The REAL Skyclad begins with the "Jonah`s Ark" and reaches its highest point on "The Silent Whales of Lunar Sea." Maybe it`s not their purest and clearest record, but it is definitely the most powerful, the most energetic, the most "Skycladdish" album they released to date. If "The Answer Machine?" is more folk than metal, then "The Silent Whales" with its heavy, distorted guitar sound tends to be much more metal than folk. This is the first strength of this album.

The second strength of "The Silent Whales" is lyrics by Martin Walkyier. Frankly speaking, I don`t share his aspiration for writing about social issues, but I can not deny the talent. He creates the brilliant mixtures of word-playing, sarcasm, irony and bitterness. I suppose Martin to be one of the best (if not THE best) rock/metal lyricists along with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

The third strength of this record is that almost all compositions are classy. Unfortunately, arrangements are not so good as they will become on later albums. That is keeping me from rating "The Silent Whales of Lunar Sea" as 100%.

The album starts with Still Spinning Shrapnel. In my opinion, it is rather boring song, but others tend to rate it very high. Maybe I just don`t understand something?

The second track, Just What Nobody Wanted, is awfully beautiful with its very unusual intro and catchy rhythm, let alone wonderful lyrics. (When I say 'catchy' here, I mean that this one is REALLY catchy.)

Art - Nazi is another one 'heavy' song featuring unusual melodic structure.

Fourth track, Jeopardy, is the best of the best. Very strange melody, untrivial arrangement, cool guitar solo, Martin`s voice constantly moving from left to right and vice versa... I especialliy like the moments when Martin sings: "Left, right, left, right, left, right, left... Right, left, right, left, right, left, right..."

The next song - Brimstone Ballet - is not one of my favourites, but is also very notable not only because of lyrics but also because of memorable melody, complex rhythm, and descent folkish arrangement.

A Stranger In The Garden has beautiful acoustic intro and heavy chorus. This is a very good song, too.

The next two tracks - Another Fine Mess and Turncoat Rebellion - show even more good folkish riffing. To my mind, they both belong to Skyclad's Top-20.

Halo of Flies is my personal favourite here. It is the heaviest song on the album and the most memorable one. Heavy guitar riffs after the words "Tell me who am I, what am I and why am I here" make me absolutely happy.

Desperanto (A Song for Europe) is very satirical. It explains perspectives of the united Europe from sceptic`s point of view and features very intense guitars. Words "we`re all Eurosexual" really make me laugh every time I listen through it.

The Present Imperfect is anthemic song dedicated to social inequality. It features the latin chorus "Panis angelicus" by Cesar Frack.

"The Silent Whales of Lunar Sea" ends with Dance Of The Dandy Hound - instrumental bonus track. It serves the purpose to wipe away bombast of The Present Imperfect.

Resume: "The Silent Whales of Lunar Sea" is one of the best Skyclad albums . If you didn't hear it then go and buy it. It`s worth it.