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Skinflint - Hate Spell review


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Band: Skinflint
Album: Hate Spell
Release date: February 2023

01. Intro
02. Bloody Quills
03. Sasabonsam
04. Hate Spell
05. Blood Dripping From Torso To Toes
06. Shape Shifter
07. Mankind Creation
08. Eloko
09. Witch Haunting
10. Spirit Board
11. Conquest
12. Juju King

Ready for some wild traditional heavy metal from the equally wild regional lands of Botswana?

Heavy metal has been a forever expanding genre since its very beginnings, spreading across the world far and wide, and its traditional form has typically endured ever since arriving in each country. Now, from the African country of Botswana comes the heavy metal group Skinflint, which has released a total of six full-length studio albums since their formation back in 2005 prior to this latest offering, Hate Spell. Clearly this isn't a band that are new to the heavy metal scene, but despite this, they've never really made it that big in the world of heavy metal; still, things can often change in that respect, whether through a band making a name for themselves as support for larger known groups or releasing a breakout album. Maybe Hate Spell could be the lucky break this Botswanan trio deserve?

The evolution of metal music has undoubtedly been intriguing to say the least; just looking back at how far it has come can seem like a blessing, but unfortunately it can also be seen as a curse. Take bands such as Skinflint, for example; it's hard for some metalheads to see past the majority of traditional heavy metal bands as simply being a gimmick, still trying to relive the early glory days of heavy metal and clinging onto that old nostalgic feeling. Perhaps such bands dwell on the feeling they had when they first heard that great Iron Maiden debut all those years ago for the first time, and wish for that mighty Iron spirit to live on through the younger heavy metal generation of today.

Does this Botswanan trio deliver the heavy goods this time round with Hate Spell? Well, it kicks off with an unusual short and pleasingly epic synth-based intro, before suddenly plunging deep into the midst of the usual heavy metal grandeur with "Bloody Quills". The album continues in this manne; you may not hear anything all that groundbreaking or original in fact, but there are a few interesting moments along the way, such as the fascinating and grisly narrative tribal tale on the track "Eloko". If there's one thing you have here for sure, it's a band that do a grand job at incorporating their culture and heritage in with the traditional heavy metal style.

The riffs contain simple melodic structures, but the catchy hooks are delivered so effectively, and are performed to a high enough standard, along with an almighty meaty guitar tone, which adds a genuine rawness to the whole sound. The guitar soloing here is highly impressive; unlike your typical traditional heavy metal shredding, what you have here is rather a more blues style, almost reminiscent of the great quality of the solos from the 70s hard rock era. The vocals may be an acquired taste, but while Guiseppe Sbrana is no Bruce Dickinson or Ronnie James Dio, you can't deny his passion and the aggressive edge he brings forth.

You can't really call this album short and sweet exactly, with the majority of the twelve tracks on this clocking in at over six minutes, so there are grey areas in which the riffs tend to drag, but you sense the band also wanted to allow the momentum to build up with the repeating riffs until the unleashing of the main chorus sections or solos.

Perhaps you're one of those fresh young faces in the metal world who sees Hate Spell in a whole different perspective than a long-time Iron Maiden fanatic; however, regardless of whether you're an old timer, newcomer, or simply an open-minded heavy metal traditionalist, Hate Spell carries on the heavy metal spirit.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written on 03.03.2023 by And well there you have it.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 5 users
25.03.2023 - 04:41
Rating: 6
I stumbled onto IKLWA probably a decade ago and somehow found myself in possession of the CD. I haven't listened to any of the intervening albums, because I found IKLWA too inchoate and derivative to be heavily replayable in spite of the fact that it was generally a decent album (I still remember "Iron Pierced King" fondly), but I was intrigued to see that Skinflint is still around, so after reading your review I had to check this one out.

Hate Spell is much, much better produced and the performances are way tighter; there's even a bit of what I'd call confident theatricality here, as opposed to the very primitive renditions of Iron Maiden cliches on IKLWA. What ultimately undoes the album is its length: not a single one of these songs needs to be as long as it is. There's too much repetition and meandering, and the songs are not so memorable in the first place that I can easily forgive lounging on the same themes for six or seven minutes. For what is basically a standard traditional heavy metal album with some nice doom hooks and gravelly vocals, this could have raised my score at least a bit by being half as long.

That said, there are some good grooves and catchy riffs throughout, and overall I like the album. It puts Skinflint back on my radar, so I hope to see them keep up the progress with maybe some more self-editing.
"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.

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