Skyclad - _A Semblance of Normality_
(Demolition Records, 2004)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7 out of 10)
Skyclad are one of those bands I seem to have been hearing about since the beginning of time, yet never got around to checking out properly. With well over a dozen official releases since 1991 under their belt, this Nottingham collective recently left Nuclear Blast and signed with Demolition Records for the release of _A Semblance of Normality_. As I'm not sufficiently familiar with the band's folk metal, I shan't of course compare it to previous efforts -- though I have a strong suspicion there aren't any huge differences compared to their last couple of releases.

Although _A Semblance of Normality_ is by no means as grandiose as Therion, it is nevertheless quoted as having employed "the talents of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra" -- though I am unsure exactly where, as there is also a violin player in the band whose work is quite prevalent throughout. The production does its job impeccably and keeps a good balance, and both playing and singing are equally competent throughout. Skyclad seem to be at their best when the folk elements are turned up: their pumped up folk tracks sound quite unique, and manage to stir up some curiosity (take "Anotherdrinkingsong" and "Lightening the Load" as examples, as well as several other bits and pieces).

Long-time fans of the band are likely to find plenty of entertaining material here, though for everyone else the interesting tracks may turn out to be a minority. Overall _A Semblance of Normality_ is a consistent, refreshing and fun, though ultimately harmless album.


(article published 10/3/2005)

3/13/2001 A Bromley Skyclad: Purveyors of the Bizarre
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