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Skyclad - The Anwer Machine (1997)

On The Anwer Machine? Skyclad explore the realms of folk rock. The album is much softer than their heavier releases and though Oui, Avantgarde A-Chance had more acoustics in it, The Answer Machine? is more melancholic and moody.

The album starts off with a typical Skyclad song Building a Ruin - but Martin's voice doesn't sound as pissed-off as he used to. On this album Martin uses a softer singing style. You shouldn't worry anyway, the lyrical content is top-notch as usual: on this album the band digs deeper into social affairs and problems such as war, solitude, religion, death and politics (can you imagine Skyclad going totally apolitical?). And lots of puns and wordplay included as well. Songwriting is as good as usual (though some may accuse the band in producing lots of fillers; these are not fillers, this is Skyclad!).

Among the highlights on this album I would point out Building a Ruin, Single Phial (a very beautiful ballad with inspired vocal performance), Helium, Eirenarch (the fastest and the heaviest song), Troublesometimes.
The Answer Machine? is a conceptual release (according to the band's interview), which tells us about different things happening to different people in the world. The album title says that you may find some answers you were seeking for if you get the message of Martin right.

Yet, another perfect album from these Brits who seem to be one of the leading rock bands in the world. It's a shame they stay so deep in underground - they deserve recognition and highest acclaim!

Review by Dismayer

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