Skyclad - Prince of the Poverty Line
Noise Records
Folk Metal
11 songs (55'52")
Release year: 1994
Skyclad, Noise Records
Reviewed by Adam
Archive review
Constant improvement is a quality that most bands strive for and most fans appreciate. One of the best examples of constant improvement is the early career of folk metal legends Skyclad. While I enjoy all of their albums, I will not deny the obvious positive progression from one album to the next that was true of their earliest works. 1993’s Jonah’s Ark was a step up from its predecessor, but it was by no means perfect. Likewise, 1994’s Prince of the Poverty Line improves on the thrash meets folk formula, and the result sounds more cohesive than anything the band had released prior.

One aspect of this album that stands out to me is the solemn tone. Folk aspects generally bring with them an upbeat, drinking around the campfire feel. That is often not the case on Prince of the Poverty Line. This atmosphere is not completely abandoned, as in the melodic riffing of the violin dominated Sins of Emission, but it is certainly dialed down severely in other songs. The opening drum march and subsequent dark riff of Civil War Dance was, at the time, an unexpected curveball. Martin Walkyier’s gravelly vocals always lended Skyclad a more evil sound, but these were more often contrasted by the folk ingredients of the band. Here, the violin more revels in Walkyier's tone than it does to oppose it. This is only the first in a fair bit of tinkering to be found. Cardboard City is an excellent melodic piece that is, to my ears, completely devoid of folk influence, but is instead carried by some beautiful guitar solos. Land of Rising Slum finds Walkyier experimenting with a choppy, almost rap-style vocal delivery, which I could easily do without. However, for the most part, Walkyier again gives an excellent performance. His best work is on the album’s finest track Womb of the Worm, as his vocal gyrations fit perfectly with the pounding riffs, and the female vocal additions in the chorus somehow manage to bump up the emotion in his voice. The pace is a bit slow and ominous, and allows for more outstanding soloing from Steve Ramsey and Dave Pugh. In addition, this is yet another track where the violin is nowhere to be found. I, for one, enjoy this dynamic as the violin heavy tracks, like The Truth Famine, sound very fresh as the listener is not being constantly saturated throughout the course of the album.

With Prince of the Poverty Line, Skyclad once again improved their sound. The darker songs are a welcome addition, and keep driving and thrashier folk anthems like Gammadion Seed from sounding too familiar. Overall, the integration of folk and thrash elements is pulled off very well, and the result is one of the better albums in the band’s catalog. Though they would continue to improve over time, it was much more of a slight and level progression from this album onward.
Killing Songs :
Civil War Dance, Cardboard City, Womb of the Worm
Adam quoted 86 / 100
Goat quoted 83 / 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
To see all 12 reviews click here
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