Skyclad - The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth
Noise Records
Folk-tinged Speed/Thrash Metal
10 songs (46:47)
Release year: 1991
Skyclad, Noise Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

As much of a big thing as Folk Metal currently is in the Metallic sphere, the creators of the genre rarely get a mention these days; a colossal shame, as Skyclad deserve to be leading the pack. Financial difficulties led to the departure of frontman par excellence Martin Walkyier in 2001, and the band have never really recovered from that loss – for many, me not least amongst them, Walkyier was one of (if not the) best things about the band, his sarcastic vocals and lyrical genius in Skyclad making up for the loss of Sabbat. Not to show disrespect to the rest of the core members, amongst them Satan’s Steve Ramsey and Graeme English, but Walkyier really was the main attraction, and his loss leaves a huge hole in the band.

Looking back, however, Skyclad’s first album actually had relatively little Folk elements – aside from The Widdershins Jig, the majority of the music here is straight-up Thrash/Speed Metal. Of course, it’s diverse enough and with plenty of individual spirit that marks it out from the crowd, but to all intents and purposes The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth continues down the Sabbatical road. Sadly, this isn’t perfect, and there are more than a couple of songs here that fall into the filler bracket; cutting this in half and releasing it as an EP would have resulted in a bona fide classic. Still, looking at the good songs, there are plenty; the album opens with the catchy The Sky Beneath My Feet, almost Proggy in its melody, and the subtle touches of fiddle add a great deal to its riff-heavy attack. Following song Trance Dance (A Dreamtime Walkabout) is probably the most Speed Metal song on show, simply ripping through your ears as the opening pounding drums give way to pure heads-down riffage. After a mid-point breakdown, it all starts again; definitely an album highlight.

From then on, alas, things take a downwards slope. The Widdershins Jig is a Skyclad classic, but following song Our Dying Island is at least three minutes too long and although it starts well enough, come the five-minute mark you’ll be begging it to end. Cradle Will Fall is forgettable enough and, again, too long, but in the album running fits in well enough. Skyclad does great things and is a live favourite to this day, but following this with the rather lame ballad Moonglean And Meadowsweet was a misstep, and whilst finale Terminus makes a good step towards Thrash-based reconciliation, it’s not enough to save the album overall. Some will argue and say that Wayward Sons... deserves better, but there’s little enough to recommend it that newcomers would do far better to look elsewhere. Skyclad’s second album, A Burnt Offering For The Bone Idol, would truly set out their sound towards the later perfection, and really unless you’re a total fan you can safely ignore this.

Killing Songs :
The Sky Beneath My Feet, Trance Dance, The Widdershins Jig, Skyclad,
Goat quoted 64 / 100
Adam quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Skyclad that we have reviewed:
Skyclad - Vintage Whine reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Skyclad - The Answer Machine reviewed by Goat and quoted 76 / 100
Skyclad - Oui Avant-Garde A Chance reviewed by Goat and quoted 58 / 100
Skyclad - Irrational Anthems reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Skyclad - The Silent Whales Of Lunar Sea reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
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