Skyclad - Irrational Anthems
Massacre Records
Folk Rock/Metal
12 songs (53:09)
Release year: 1996
Skyclad, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

After the relative heaviness of The Silent Whales Of Lunar Sea it’s pretty clear from a listen to Irrational Anthems that Skyclad decided to tone down the Metal elements of their sound a little and let the Folk shine, and it results in a great album. As the title suggests, this is full of anthems, from the opening dance-friendly melodies of Inequality Street onwards there’s hardly a weak track present. Some complain about the lessening of hostilities in Walkyier’s voice, but all that really means is that his range is greater and it’s easier to hear his excellent lyrics. The others all play their hearts out, the guitars mixing wonderfully with Ms Biddle’s fiddle, and the music itself continues to experiment, the twisted guitar riffs of Snake Charming with its sexy little eastern interlude a great example.

Really, I have nothing but praise for this album. Penny Dreadful takes a more traditional Folk sound to it, criticising modern music, whilst The Sinful Ensemble sounds like two songs played together, the resulting cacophony making wonderful sense as the lyrics describe a bunch of dead dictators out on a piss-up. The percussion-driven My Mother In Darkness, the energetic I Dubious, the ominous Science Never Sleeps... all are great songs. Short instrumentals The Spiral Staircase and Saber Dance (originally by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian) add much to the album, the laid-back former and manic intensity of the latter clashing nicely. It’s truly hard picking highlights, as each track has something to recommend it, but my overall favourite would have to be No Deposit, No Return, a clearly personal piece for Walkyier describing his career choice and how his father must feel proud of him, even if he did imagine him a ‘lawyer or broker, not sat on a bus full of drinkers and tokers’.

This is one of my favourite Skyclad albums, without a doubt. The band were on fire in 1996, releasing another album later the same year, and although some think that the two should have been combined, Irrational Anthems has more than enough excellent songs to warrant its standing on its own. It’s best summed up with some of Martin’s lyrics: “Stand your ground behind the times, and refuse to follow fashion/Write your poetry with anger and then sing it with a passion.” Passion indeed.

Killing Songs :
Inequality Street, The Wrong Song, Snake Charming, No Deposit No Return, History Lessens
Goat quoted 89 / 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 - The Silent Whales Of Lunar Sea reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Skyclad - In The... All Together reviewed by Elias and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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