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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