Skyclad - The Answer Machine? review
|Album:||The Answer Machine?|
|Release date:||September 1997|
01. A Clown Of Thorns
02. Building A Ruin
03. Worn Out Sole To Heel
04. Single Phial
06. The Thread Of Evermore
09. Isle of Jura
10. Fainting By Numbers
11. My Naked I
12. Catherine At The Wheel
13. Dead Angels On Ice
Yet another masterpiece from Skyclad is about to be reviewed. I don't really think that I need to introduce the band (again) but for those that don't know, they are probably the inventors of folk-metal, using a violin along with classic metal instruments. They were innovative and have a sound of their own, having released only quality albums (being hard enough even for their fans to pick out the best of them).
On this album Skyclad appear as more mellow than ever. Even if the almost acoustic "Oui Avant-Garde A Chance" is softer this is more melancholic and emotional probably. And this is hardly metal, as I would characterize it as folk-rock, with the fiddle being the most dominant instrument and most of the songs leaning towards that direction but not lessening any of it's greatness of course.
"A Clown of Thorns" starts the album while Martin plays with the words and sings on a piano introduction for "The Answer Machine?''. The next two tracks on the album are in the usual Skyclad style but with no sign of "anger" in Martin's voice or sharpness in the guitars. Sharpness is not missing from the lyrics though as they are incredibly good as always, talking about politics, war, technology, love and more. "Single Phial" is one of the best ballads ever. Really sentimental. "Helium" is a very nice track but "The Thread of Evermore" is just amazing! Pure Folk Delirium! (being their folkiest tune probably). "Eirenarch" is the heaviest song on "The Answer Machine?" - pretty fast and up-tempo (not happy though in any way). "Isle of Jura" is another highlight - also a ballad, signed with the sad tone on Martin's voice. A truly heart-rending track.
At this point the album sort of loses some of its interest. The next three tracks, all short in length, are not of the usual Skyclad quality. They are somehow different with many piano melodies but something just doesn't feel right. Finally, the album closes with "Dead Angels On Ice" also very folky and also somehow different. An enjoyable track nevertheless but I would rather prefer another track as a closer.
As always the production is in the high standards and the artwork is very nice featuring bright colors and weird symbols and drawings. A much recommended release from an impressive band that still manages to impress me. If it weren't for tracks 10, 11 & 12, I would have rated this wonderful release even higher. One last notice: Please let it grow in you…
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