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Dead End - 50%

Sean16, August 13th, 2009

Of course this album has been considerably overhyped, but that’s understandable. Go figure it out: not only was it Martin Walkyier’s first recording after he left Skyclad, but at that time he even had announced it would be his musical testament, his final recording ever; add to this its troublesome gestation with the musicians eventually featured being different from the ones initially planned, its official “demo” status which immediately turned it to a sort of cult item (though it’s been re-released later, that’s this version I’m reviewing), and eventually wrap everything in the whole Clan Destined concept – something which was supposed to be much, much more than music – and you’ll understand it was hard to get a clear, unbiased opinion about it. Now several years are gone, Martin Walkyier is still recording music, the Clan Destined seems to have become somehow silent so the time has probably come for an objective evaluation. So, frankly? There’s nothing to cream one’s pants to.

Let’s be clear: the only reason why people are likely to buy this release is Martin Walkyier. To this respect, there’s nothing to complain about. Unlike his last Skyclad release (Folkemon) he seemed only remotely involved in, it’s obvious he’s now got his full motivation back. The Clan Destined is the personal showcase of his heathen beliefs as well as his final musical statement (admitting the whole I’m retiring from the music industry thing wasn’t a hoax from the first day – I highly doubt it was), so better do it right. The power, the trademark raspy half-drunk tone are here and should make every Walkyier fan happy, and though I’ve never considered him as the best vocalist around he really is the sole element making this album somehow interesting. However, even the vocals are already kind of an issue as alongside our near-to-flawless Martin first you’ll get some stupid chick who is pretty much his exact opposite, meaning worthless. Her pop-ish intervention at the beginning of I Am Because We Are almost kills the whole song, and though her total presence remains fortunately discrete be sure she’ll still pop in (pun intended) from time to time for the most annoying moments. The worst remain nonetheless the spoken parts. Consider it, you’ll get them in almost EVERY song, and even if they’re never excessively long remember the whole release isn’t very long either (26 minutes).

Most people, when listening to what is supposed to be a metal album, don’t want to hear a fucking lecture instead. The spoken interludes, however, are dead into the concept of this release, that’s where the true problem arises. As I’ve already implied The Clan Destined isn’t a metal band, that’s above all a window for Walkyier’s leftist and pagan ideas, a project also involving film-makers and the likes. This record isn’t a metal record, that’s one of Walkyier’s means of propaganda. People merely downloading the tracks may miss it but for who owns a physical copy it’s more than obvious; the artwork, the lyrics all convey their heavy money rules the world, religion is lie, don’t follow leaders meaning, becoming rapidly tiresome. Don’t get me wrong, I personally share most of the man’s ideas, and I can’t remember having complained once against Skyclad’s highly biased socio-political lyrics – in fact, I even happened to praise them. But Skyclad, except occasionally in its early days, has never sounded preachy. Paradoxically this release, supposed to stand against the preachers of all kind, THIS RELEASE DOES NOTHING BUT PREACH.

You must have understood by now: the music here is secondary. Walkyier is likely to be the first to anger if we compare this album to Skyclad, as the man probably don’t want to have anything to do with his former bandmates anymore, but let’s admit Skyclad is great primarily because the music is great while the lyrics, though a crucial addition, still remain an addition. Metal is first about MUSIC, big news – besides, Skyclad has since proved to do very well without Walkyier, but that’s another matter. By contrast the music here appears to be very dull. Punk influences are obvious, especially in the three first tracks. The third track for instance is a cover and it’s a pure punk song, what must to a certain extent account for its stupidity. The lyrics deal with how we all should check the books of a guy called T.C. Lethbridge, who – what a surprise – was another preacher telling us how much Humanity is wicked, the chorus has to be the dumbest ever written – T! C! L-E-T! H-B-R-I-D-G-E! (repeat and add Miss Cretin Pop Pussy in the background) – and of course you get a little spoken excerpt from the great man’s work. Even if this track is by far the worst, and the band didn’t write it, the band indeed chose to cover it, what’s pretty much the same.

Granted the rest could only be better but there’s nonetheless nothing extraordinary, some punk metal with still a few folk influences like in the backing keyboards, but everything is pretty linear. The two best tracks are probably the first and the last, though the latter can’t avoid the mandatory spoken part. I Am Because We Are is nothing but a silly rock song but I already explained why it was doomed from the very first bars anyway (and c’mon, those lyrics remind more of John Lennon than the great Martin Walkyier). Farther even if A Beautiful Start To the End Of the World had shown anything promising it would have been killed by its chorus exclusively built on two notes in addition of being repeated ad nauseam; coming to Devil For a Day there’s little to say except it’s boring, reminding a lot of the typical fillers you’ll find on almost any Skyclad record (particularly A Well Besides the River).

No, this isn’t a good album. I’m not suggesting it’s bad either, and Walkyier completists will definitely find an interest in it, but before coming to this dead end the Skyclad and Sabbat discographies should be enough to keep most of us busy.

Highlights: Swinging Like Judas, More Than War

I Am Because We Are - 100%

Muloc7253, July 18th, 2007

The music of Martin Walkyier, especially through Skyclad, often made me think a lot. It made me think of my rights, and the wrong of the powers that be. It often made me consider the pagan Gods. The Clan Destined still makes me think of the first two (maybe more than I ever have) but no longer the latter, and the only reason for that is that Walkyier simply must be a pagan God himself. Whereas his mesmerizing words and bewildering songcraft in Sabbat and then moreso Skyclad made me think about the way I'm living my life and the way the world is going (a philosophy born of punk and pagan), his new project the Clan Destined stops me considering it at all. That's because now, through the power of genius philosophy, mighty wordplay and awe-inspiring music I am completely convinced that everything he says is right, and was written specifically for me, there is no shadow of a doubt - the man is a genius.

There is a man travelling alone on overgrown, unexplored paths. He knows not what he is searching for, but he knows that it needs to be found. And after countless days, something is spotted in the bushes, something sparkling in it's own way. It's a relic the world has never seen before, and inside it is a power that unlocks the man's soul and releases all the mysteries hidden in his mind that he never before understood. This was made exactly for him, by the Gods, it simply would not have the same effect on anybody else. It would be nothing more than a treasure, a trophy. Something to just sit there and look nice on a shelf. It was made specifically for this one man. That man was me. I hate to say it, but I don't think that anybody will ever really experience the magick of this. That's probably an exaggeration, infact I know it is, because the music contained herein is pure gold, but it feels as though this recording (demo, EP, whatever it was intended to be) was created for me and for me only.

This music is actually pretty simple. It's fairly modern sounding heavy metal, a little thrashy, a little punky. It's very direct (as Walkyier's music always is), very straight-forward and to the point, very powerful. As far as music constructed in that sort of 'pop' manner (by that I mean in the verse-chorus way, not the MTV way) this has to be the very best music ever possibly created. That style of simple heavy metal has to be direct, and this is as direct as could possibly be. It achieves what it sets out to do 110%. It comes, states it's message, leaves it's mark and then leaves. It isn't the heaviest album ever, but it IS the most powerful for those very reasons. The riffs, the vocal melodies and the general construction has more impact than any piece of music I have ever heard before. Funnily enough, there's a line in the song 'A Beautiful Start to the End of the World' which unintentionally describes this better than I ever could - "No bombshell has hit with this impact before!" Walkyier's perfect use of the English language perfectly sums up exactly how brilliant this album is. Listen to the chorus of 'More Than War', or the ending verse of 'Swing Like Judas' or every single syllable of 'A Beautiful Start to the End of the World' and tell me there is other songs constructed in such simple manner than have a stronger affect than those. It's often disputed over whether the music was written by Iscariah or Walkyrier, who had fallen out before Martin went and recorded the album, but it feels to me as though they both contributed. There a distinct Walkyrier vibe about the album - as already mentioned, the directness, aswell as the actual recording and general atmosphere (and of course the lyrics, which we'll come to later). I do believe that Iscariah wrote the biggest bulk of the music, and it's a shame and a sin that he isn't noticed as a brilliant songwriter and is more remembered as jsut a face behind a bass in numerous Nordic black and death metal bands. Although this feels like it has the mark of Walkyrier to me, Iscariah's input in this should not be understated. The whole band was formed of free thinkers, and it seems that the delivery of Walkyrier (vocally aswell, his commanding, powerful voice never fails to deliver) aswell as his lyrics combined with the powerful riffmachine Iscariah was truly a match made in Valhalla.

But of course, the one thing we haven't yet reached is the lyrics, and as with everything Walkyier the mastermind even breathes upon, the quality of the album is nearly doubled by the lyrical content and genius use of wordplay. 'Swing Like Judas', 'More Than War', 'A Beautiful Start...', all sown together perfectly with some of the most magnificent poetry ever written. 'Devil for a Day' is possibly my favourite of the bunch (which is basically sung to a lover about looking forward to going to Hell when we die, to be together in torture and damnation forever..."there's a part of me which hopes the christians got it right, that God is real and Hell exists where sinners burn/'cause then I know we'll meet again upon some flamelit starless night, chained side-by-side to stand in line and wait our turn"). 'I Am Because We Are' basically documents all of Walkier's philosophy and ideas behind 'The Clan Destined' (the title of which I'm considering having tattooed across my chest).

But I would not be surprised for a second if the world was to not understand this. It feels as though it was made for me, to wake me up inside, spiritually, to turn my life around, and it succeeded. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe others will find the magick. Maybe the destined clan is not a band, but a following, a way forward to new life.

"It's time let's rhyme united pagan massive, come together or forever remain impassive, evolving revolution of heathen free thinkers, a moral obligation to abandon mental blinkers."

Roy Orlando Walkyier R.I.P. (1921-2007)