Skyclad - Prince Of The Poverty Line review
|Album:||Prince Of The Poverty Line|
|Release date:||March 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 Emptiness
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!
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