Nuclear Blast America
Folkemon is a difficult album to get your head around. It walks that fine line between visionary and too quirky for its own good.Not that it•s bad to be quirky or to cram many dissenting musical ideas into one song (look at Beefheart), but damn. Now it’s Martin Walkyier, and since Sabbat he can do whatever he wants, but the Metal-Celtic-Folk connection is still an uneasy (Mosh pit in the Renaissance Fair? Sorry, that was ignorant.) peace at best. Then again, what we need more of these days is jarring, uncomfortable splicing of musical forms. And what Skyclad is doing is more adventurous than many of their peer group, like, say, Metallica or Megadeth, and anyway, Walkyier has MUCH better hair.
Despite a schizophrenic musical vision, Skyclad still know their way around the almighty riff, in fact they toss off some classic downtuned evil, and refuse to get caught up in the progressive twiddling that usually consume groups that intend to imperiously move beyond metal. But, yes, there are about two minutes worth of parts that sound like “Lord of the Dance.” BUT, and I say BUT, Walkyier remembers what brought him to the dance, and that’s no-frills metal. Cross that with jug-band blues a la Syd Barrett, and you’ve got yourself some good listening. Oh, you know what else, the more I think about the lyrical bent of this record, the more I’m thinking it’s a seamless synthesis of mystical prog rock concerns and the bratty disdainful sneer of the Dead Kennedys. So you end up with Disenchanted Forests and that weird rabid cat-Pokemon creature wearing an eyepatch and playing a fiddle on the cover of the record. Not bad, better than the Pogues ever pulled off, I’ll tell you that much.
Nuclear Blast America, PO Box 43618, Philadelphia PA, 19106