|Skyclad - Oui Avant-Garde Á Chance
01. If I Die Laughing, It'll Be An Act Of God
02. Great Blow For A Day Job
03. Constance Eternal
04. Postcard From Planet Earth
05. Jumping My Shadow
07. History Lessons (The Final Examination)
08. A Badtime Story
09. Come On Eileen [Dexys Midnight Runners cover]
10. Master Race [New Model Army cover]
11. Bombed Out
12. Penny Dreadful [Full Shilling mix version]
Skyclad. Does this band really need an introduction? I think not. If you are here, reading this review, I assume you are at least a bit of a folk metal fan. And if that's the case, you are obligated to know Skyclad. This is the band which started it all, the first folk metal band, the fathers. And while owing a lot to them for what they got started, one must not forget that they are of course masters of what they do themselves. In the beginning, their music sounded more like thrash metal but with a few folk elements here and there (I am sure that sounded really weird back during the early 90's). Over time, Skyclad turned into more of a folk band. This album is from that era, where their music was at it's peak folk-wise.
When I was new to the world of folk metal I posed the question "What Skyclad album should I start with?". One of the albums which most people recommended was this one, 1996's Oui Avantgarde A Chance. "Okay", Lanfawn said (or wrote, really) and went down to buy it. Life changed. This album contains 12 tracks of pure folk metal awesomeness. From the get-go we are introduced to two fast tracks. The better of these two being Great Blow For A Day Job. A very catchy song which ties you up entirely. While on the subject of that song, notice the title of it? Yeah, that's a word play. Skyclad is very famous for their exceptionally great lyrics and funny usage of the English language. I dare say that to me, half of the enjoyment when it comes to Skyclad's music is the great lyrics of Martin Walkyier. He displays his complete mastery of words and makes rhymes that will make even the best lyricist look twice. And not only is the flow great, the themes of his lyrics are very easy to identify yourself with. They are about society, politics, romance. "Bah, boring stuff!" some may say but when it's this passionate it's hard not to love it. Speaking of Walkyier, he's a very talented vocalist who sings & screams out his works in such a manner that you can really feel how much he loves his stuff.
The album continues with some ballads (Constance Eternal, Jumping My Shadow... the latter having the most beautiful lyrics I have ever read!) and some mid-tempo songs (Bombjour!, A Badtime Story). As always with Skyclad albums they have their share of true killer songs which are very worshipped. On this album it would be the aforementioned Constance Eternal (a great ballad about the death of a person Martin knew, apparently), Bombjour! (great lyrics here too, about the usage of weapons in warfare) and of course History Lessens & Penny Dreadful, both being along the most famous Skyclad songs. To be fair though, both of those songs appeared on the previously released Irrational Anthems... but here they are refined and arranged to perfection; the complete versions if you want to put it that way. Let's not forget the other great songs of the album such as Come On Eileen (perhaps the most folky song Skyclad ever did) & Bombed Out (which is really just an instrumental of Bombjour! but very good regardless).
To sum it up, this is one of Skyclad's finest works and a great place to start. Each song is filled with life and passion, it's impossible to not like. The best album by the best band, pretty much! And again, do NOT forget to read the lyrics; or else you will to see the true nature of Skyclad. This album is getting a 10 from me, and it truly deserves it even though that's coming from guy who doesn't like giving out 10s!
written by lanfawn | 26.12.2004
Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.