Rating:
9.6
Skyclad - Prince Of The Poverty Line
1994


01. Civil War Dance
02. Cardboard City
03. Sins Of Emission
04. Land Of The Rising Slum
05. The One Piece Puzzle
06. A Bellyful Of Emptyness
07. A Dog In The Manger
08. Gammadion Seed
09. Womb Of The Worm
10. The Truth Famine


It's 1994, Skyclad is four years old, and they've already released their fourth album. While the sound on this release evolved from Thrash (Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth) to Folk (Jonah's Ark), "Prince Of The Poverty Line" marks a return to a heavier sound. In fact, it's the heaviest of all Skyclad's albums. Just to set the tone, the album begins with the roar of an angry crowd, and that makes way to the chorus that says "A bloody revolution is the simplest solution to the problems that they've made." Name of this song ? "Civil War Dance."

The lyrical content is on the same level throughout the album. Not so much about Paganism or anti-Christianity this time, the topic is much more urban and social, rooted in Skyclad's birth city: Newcastle. From the homeless (the aptly titled "Cardboard City") to drugs ("Womb Of The Worm") to the mistreated children ("A Dog In The Manger") and unemployment ("The Truth Famine"), the portrait of post-Thatcher Great Britain is not beautiful to behold.

"But where's the violin, the folk sound that we like in Skyclad?" you'll ask. Don't worry, it's there! Coupled with the guitars, outlining choruses and so on, the violin is present. Not always, but each time it's used, the impact of the song is magnified. For example, listen again to the chorus of "Civil War Dance" or to the intro of "A Dog In The Manger" with the violin boosted by the super-heavy bass line. Sometimes keyboards or samples are lightly but effectively used to enhance some parts of the songs. And so far I haven't even mentioned the, as always, excellent guitar parts of Steve Ramsay (definitively an underrated guitarist).

To conclude, the ultimate highlight of all the album is at the very end; the trilogy formed by "Gammadion Seed," "Womb Of The Worm," and "The Truth Famine." This is 17 minutes of pure Skyclad genius! There is no silence between the songs, barely the time to breathe before another wave of emotions crushes on you. Meditate a little during the mantra-like end of "Womb Of The Worm," before seeing the political disaster in "The Truth Famine." This last song always gives me the shivers.

This album is, for me, the very best album of an excellent band. It's in my top 10 of all time, all styles, all music!

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Skyclad
Album: Prince Of The Poverty Line


 


written by Darkside Momo | 05.12.2006


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Richard - 06.12.2006 at 20:26  
Good review! It's cool that you acknowledged the lyrical content being so inspired by 90's British social issues even though you're not British yourself, as it shows that Skyclad's intelligent use of wordplay can be appreciated universally.

Cardboard City, Gammadion Seed and The Truth Famine are my favourites here, and among Skyclad's best ever songs IMO.
Talvi - 07.12.2006 at 01:10  
I've only heard Folkemon, and I really like it. How would you compare this album to that?
Darkside Momo - 07.12.2006 at 18:43  
Written by Richard on 06.12.2006 at 20:26

Good review! It's cool that you acknowledged the lyrical content being so inspired by 90's British social issues even though you're not British yourself, as it shows that Skyclad's intelligent use of wordplay can be appreciated universally.

Thanks ! And yes, I agree with you about Martin's lyrics. After all it's one of Skyclad's trademarks

Written by Talvi on 07.12.2006 at 01:10

I've only heard Folkemon, and I really like it. How would you compare this album to that?

Folkemon has much more folk elements, while Prince of the Poverty Line has a really heavier sound, more thrash, with less folk elements. It has also a darkier mood.
Morphis - 19.09.2010 at 04:14  
Great review and great comments.

This album is also on my top of all time.

Deep thoughtful lyrics, magnificent guitars and folk elements used in a perfect dose.

Favourite song for me: Sins Of Emission (even though all songs are excelent)
RileyPittard - 19.04.2014 at 04:46  
Some report says that Americans residing beneath the poverty line has increased to its highest number since the bureau started keeping such reports in 1959. Even before the country experience recession, there is already large number of Americans who experienced poverty and to sum up poverty is already in line of human's life. Though you work very hard and the country is poor you are not sure that you're secure in terms of financial status. Article resource: Americans below poverty line is highest number since records began
deadone - Today at 01:42  
Phenomena album indeed and one of the few I'd regard to as close to perfect.

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