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Skin - 'Breaking The Silence' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/8a/3d/0c/744_skinbreakingthesilence_1287784642.jpg Hot

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A fine way to draw the curtain on one of the best bands the U.K. has ever produced.

What an amazing eighteen months it’s been for Skin. After an offer to reunite for the 2009 Download Festival culminated in a great performance, a full-scale successful tour followed, which led to the band being invited back to perform at this years Download too. A live acoustic album and documentary DVD have also been released in this time. I don’t think anybody, the band included, expected the reunion to be quite this successful, but it just goes to show how popular Skin were back in the day, and the fact that they still sound just as good as they always used to certainly helps. Unfortunately life gets in the way, and as everybody has full-time jobs and families, this December’s tour will be the last, but as a thank-you to the fans for remaining loyal, the band have recorded one final album. And if this is indeed Skin’s swansong, it couldn’t have been any better.

I absolutely loved the debut album, still do to this day, and it fully deserved to be a success with no less than four Top 40 hits contained within it, but to be honest I was just a little disappointed with sophomore release ‘Lucky’, with its change in direction to a heavier, darker sound, and muddy production. I thought ‘Experience Electric’ was a huge step back in the right direction, still heavier but with catchier songs and better sound quality. And I’m pleased to say that ‘Breaking The Silence’ for the most part leans back toward the mighty debut for it’s overall atmosphere – even the same logo that adorned the cover is back – but there are still a couple of nods towards the later output. The main difference is that the multi-layered production of ‘Skin’ is a thing of the past – ‘BTS’ is as raw as it gets, but still sounds enormous. Eleven tracks of no-frills, no-bullshit rock’n’roll!

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Myke Gray’s lyrics are honest and heartfelt, and occasionally thought-provoking, and he still knows how to write a great tune. Rip-roaring opener ‘Good To Be Back’ says it all – “I’ve been away for much too long, but now I’m back I’m gonna sing my song.” Neville McDonald’s voice has lost none of it’s passion and power, to think this guy actually gave up singing! Myke’s riffs and solos are as entertaining as ever, and the rhythm section of bassist Andy Robbins and drummer Dicki Fliszar locks in as if it’s never been away and propels the song along to it’s finale – a great track to start, and it just keeps getting better! It’s followed by ‘Don’t Call It Love’ which has a huge groove and catchy chorus, very commercial, with a speeded up ending that harks back to oldies like ‘Shine Your Light On Me’ and ‘Take Me Down To The River’. First single ‘Stronger’ is an absolute corker, a singalong anthem that has the feel-good factor of a Status Quo song – and is that just a little hint of ‘Rockin All Over The World’ in the riff? Great lyrics again too with it’s ‘don’t let the bastards grind you down’ mentality, “Knock me down and I’ll get up, I may not look that tough but everyday I’m getting stronger”, if only this could be promoted enough to propel Skin back into the Top 40 one more time!

‘The Book Of Your Life’ has a shuffling beat and actually reminds me a little of a Manic Street Preachers song whose name escapes me, another huge chorus and great lyrics about making the most of your life experiences, “We crash and we burn but sometimes we learn”. The likes of ‘Can You Feel It’, ‘Indestructible’ and the hard-riffing ‘Trigger Inside’, which has echoes of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cold Sweat’, are heavier songs that lean towards the later Skin output in style, but are still hugely enjoyable. There are two ballads, the understated ‘When I’m With You’ blends the electric and acoustic guitars to perfection, while the fantastic ‘Redemption’ is a re-working of a song that first appeared on the ‘Up Close And Personal’ acoustic CD, and is one of the finest ballads you’ll hear this year, complete with beautiful backing vocals from Jackie Gilbert, and piano work from longstanding keyboardist Colin McLeod. I’m not sure what Myke Gray has done wrong in his life to inspire these words, but if redemption is what he seeks, then this song will surely bring it – absolute quality. The album closes with the up-tempo stormer ‘Born To Rock’n’Roll’, complete with another immense chorus, which speeds up to a frantic climax, and does exactly what it says on the tin.

I hope a lot of the songs on this album make it into the setlist for the farewell tour, as they will be fantastic live. A fine way to draw the curtain on one of the best bands the U.K. has ever produced.

Available from www.skinfreak.co.uk

Ant Heeks

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(Skin)

Review by Woody

Skin developed a loyal following back in the early 90’s with their blend of good time bluesy hard rock, that devout following was also intensified by their electric and captivating live shows and along with Brit rockers Thunder were considered un-missable live! The band’s success was short lived with the drastic change in mainstream rock during the very dark times of the 90’s in the rock world, so the band decided to call it a day in 98. A reunion was never thought to be possible as all the band member’s careers and lives moved on outside the world of music, but the band were coaxed back into reforming for a one of show at the annual Download Festival at Donnington Park. The band were lined up amongst a line-up of “Classic” band’s harking back to the Monsters Of Rock festival’s that annually took place at Donning ton - till the 90’s screwed the pooch!

What was to be a one-off performance preceded by 2 warm up shows in London & Wolverhampton (I was there!) garnered the band with fantastic reaction’s from their still loyal fan base. So out the blue the band decided to have one more crack at the biz, and since have played a full UK tour, played at Download again this year, played a warm up show at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton (I was there!) and have another full UK tour scheduled for December. Unfortunately no sooner are we celebrating the return of the band, the band are calling it a day again so the upcoming tour is our last chance to experience the band in the area they shone the most, live & loud on stage. The band are set to play the O2 Academy in Birmingham on the 16th of December and Rock City on the 18th, so I suggest you get your singing voices ready, don your favourite dancing shoes and get your asses down one last time to see SKIN rock the house and say goodbye!

Luckily SKIN are leaving us with another memento to their legacy in the form of their 4th album “Breaking The Silence”. It’s not an album that’s going to change the world but its sound and style is what you’d expect from the band and I can say without a doubt will please the band’s fan base immensely. It does show a level of maturity in the song writing and show’s the band has evolved and grown without sacrificing the sound and style they are known for. Some songs hark back to the debut album and some indicate a similar alternative vibe that was present on their final album “Experience Electric”, so not only does it appease fans of Skin’s diverse back catalogue but adds a nice shading to the album’s overall feel. Vocalist Nev MacDonald has always been a favourite of mine, one of the most powerful singer’s I’ve ever seen live, and we get some classy and memorable performances again from Nev here, hopefully this is not the last we hear of Nev. Myke Gray who is the driving force behind the band and principal songwriter has crafted some of his best material ever, and has definitely shown more maturity in his song writing and had this album come after “Experience Electric” I don’t think the band would have split. Myke creates some great bluesy riff’s on some full force groove laden rockers, but also showing some diversity with some more alternative sounding rockers and also showing some real growth on some personal and emotive ballads.

The aptly titled “Good To be Back” opens the album; it’s an old school typical blues rock skin style rocker which has a great groove to it. “Don’t Call It Love” is a stomping, swaggering beast of a song which I think will go down amazingly well live with it’s head banging groove. “Stronger” is a melodic groove laden rocker with some fantastic guitar work. This song definitely show’s a grown up Skin!

“Can You Feel It?” is a song that really builds and draws you in till it delivers it’s big and intense chorus - which see’s Nev let rip! “The Book Of Your Life” is a mid-tempo ballad with a killer melodic chorus as well as some more excellent guitar work from Myke - this is another song that shows a real maturity from the band. Acoustic ballad “When I’m With You” puts me in mind of songs in a similar vain by Thunder. Nev’s blues soaked vocals made this song a hit with me instantly, a powerful and strong ballad. This will definitely have those lighters waving in the air.

“Trigger Inside” see’s the band mess with the style a little bit, as this has a very alternative vibe to it and could have sat easily on the experience electric album. Not as accessible as other songs on here but a good song still none the less! “Indestructible” continues the alternative vibe. It has a great heavy guitar groove and the song is a darker track which again isn’t as accessible but it does have a great swagger to it. “Redemption” is a heartfelt and meaningful ballad and Nev’s top notch vocals give these lyric’s a fantastic delivery!

The band finish the album with a bang with two up-tempo full on rockers! “Bad Reputation” is a cert to be a killer live tune, an insistent make you dance guitar riff and its dirty rock and roll chorus grabs you by the scruff of the neck. This is just as good as anything the band has ever written in the past. Although my favourite song on the album is “Born To Rock N Roll” which is an explosive rocker! The band opened their set at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton with this sang and it just blew me away, with its fantastic energy - a definite live classic! It’s catchy as hell, has a great sing out loud and proud chorus, a great slice of blues rock and roll at its best.

This album is a must for established fans and will have them all chomping at the bit to see a good portion of these songs live! Whilst the album is stylistically diverse in parts, this album is what you’d expect from the band full on Blues Rock with a dirty swagger to it! That diversity will help make this album stick out more and I think the level of maturity shown in the song writing especially the emotive ballads will have fans that have grown up with the band loving every minute of them. To me this album is stronger than most their previous output with the exception of the classic debut and is a fitting epitaph to the band’s career. As a long time fan of the band, it’s sad to see them come and go so quickly, but I’m immensely grateful for their short and active reunion. One last gig then to shout were are all Born to Rock N Roll then guys?!

Track Listing:
Good To Be Back / Don’t Call It Love / Stronger / Can You Feel It? / The Book Of Your Life / When I’m With You / Trigger Inside / Indestructible / Redemption / Bad Reputation / Born To Rock N Roll

Album Rating: 4/5

Woody’s Essential Track: Born To Rock N Roll
Overall rating 
 
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Reviewed by Woody October 27, 2010
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (31)

SKIN - "Breaking The Silence"

(Skin)

Review by Woody

Skin developed a loyal following back in the early 90’s with their blend of good time bluesy hard rock, that devout following was also intensified by their electric and captivating live shows and along with Brit rockers Thunder were considered un-missable live! The band’s success was short lived with the drastic change in mainstream rock during the very dark times of the 90’s in the rock world, so the band decided to call it a day in 98. A reunion was never thought to be possible as all the band member’s careers and lives moved on outside the world of music, but the band were coaxed back into reforming for a one of show at the annual Download Festival at Donnington Park. The band were lined up amongst a line-up of “Classic” band’s harking back to the Monsters Of Rock festival’s that annually took place at Donning ton - till the 90’s screwed the pooch!

What was to be a one-off performance preceded by 2 warm up shows in London & Wolverhampton (I was there!) garnered the band with fantastic reaction’s from their still loyal fan base. So out the blue the band decided to have one more crack at the biz, and since have played a full UK tour, played at Download again this year, played a warm up show at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton (I was there!) and have another full UK tour scheduled for December. Unfortunately no sooner are we celebrating the return of the band, the band are calling it a day again so the upcoming tour is our last chance to experience the band in the area they shone the most, live & loud on stage. The band are set to play the O2 Academy in Birmingham on the 16th of December and Rock City on the 18th, so I suggest you get your singing voices ready, don your favourite dancing shoes and get your asses down one last time to see SKIN rock the house and say goodbye!

Luckily SKIN are leaving us with another memento to their legacy in the form of their 4th album “Breaking The Silence”. It’s not an album that’s going to change the world but its sound and style is what you’d expect from the band and I can say without a doubt will please the band’s fan base immensely. It does show a level of maturity in the song writing and show’s the band has evolved and grown without sacrificing the sound and style they are known for. Some songs hark back to the debut album and some indicate a similar alternative vibe that was present on their final album “Experience Electric”, so not only does it appease fans of Skin’s diverse back catalogue but adds a nice shading to the album’s overall feel. Vocalist Nev MacDonald has always been a favourite of mine, one of the most powerful singer’s I’ve ever seen live, and we get some classy and memorable performances again from Nev here, hopefully this is not the last we hear of Nev. Myke Gray who is the driving force behind the band and principal songwriter has crafted some of his best material ever, and has definitely shown more maturity in his song writing and had this album come after “Experience Electric” I don’t think the band would have split. Myke creates some great bluesy riff’s on some full force groove laden rockers, but also showing some diversity with some more alternative sounding rockers and also showing some real growth on some personal and emotive ballads.

The aptly titled “Good To be Back” opens the album; it’s an old school typical blues rock skin style rocker which has a great groove to it. “Don’t Call It Love” is a stomping, swaggering beast of a song which I think will go down amazingly well live with it’s head banging groove. “Stronger” is a melodic groove laden rocker with some fantastic guitar work. This song definitely show’s a grown up Skin!

“Can You Feel It?” is a song that really builds and draws you in till it delivers it’s big and intense chorus - which see’s Nev let rip! “The Book Of Your Life” is a mid-tempo ballad with a killer melodic chorus as well as some more excellent guitar work from Myke - this is another song that shows a real maturity from the band. Acoustic ballad “When I’m With You” puts me in mind of songs in a similar vain by Thunder. Nev’s blues soaked vocals made this song a hit with me instantly, a powerful and strong ballad. This will definitely have those lighters waving in the air.

“Trigger Inside” see’s the band mess with the style a little bit, as this has a very alternative vibe to it and could have sat easily on the experience electric album. Not as accessible as other songs on here but a good song still none the less! “Indestructible” continues the alternative vibe. It has a great heavy guitar groove and the song is a darker track which again isn’t as accessible but it does have a great swagger to it. “Redemption” is a heartfelt and meaningful ballad and Nev’s top notch vocals give these lyric’s a fantastic delivery!

The band finish the album with a bang with two up-tempo full on rockers! “Bad Reputation” is a cert to be a killer live tune, an insistent make you dance guitar riff and its dirty rock and roll chorus grabs you by the scruff of the neck. This is just as good as anything the band has ever written in the past. Although my favourite song on the album is “Born To Rock N Roll” which is an explosive rocker! The band opened their set at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton with this sang and it just blew me away, with its fantastic energy - a definite live classic! It’s catchy as hell, has a great sing out loud and proud chorus, a great slice of blues rock and roll at its best.

This album is a must for established fans and will have them all chomping at the bit to see a good portion of these songs live! Whilst the album is stylistically diverse in parts, this album is what you’d expect from the band full on Blues Rock with a dirty swagger to it! That diversity will help make this album stick out more and I think the level of maturity shown in the song writing especially the emotive ballads will have fans that have grown up with the band loving every minute of them. To me this album is stronger than most their previous output with the exception of the classic debut and is a fitting epitaph to the band’s career. As a long time fan of the band, it’s sad to see them come and go so quickly, but I’m immensely grateful for their short and active reunion. One last gig then to shout were are all Born to Rock N Roll then guys?!

Track Listing:
Good To Be Back / Don’t Call It Love / Stronger / Can You Feel It? / The Book Of Your Life / When I’m With You / Trigger Inside / Indestructible / Redemption / Bad Reputation / Born To Rock N Roll

Album Rating: 4/5

Woody’s Essential Track: Born To Rock N Roll

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Comments (1)add comment

Redemption is the Xmas Single said:

...
Thanks for the review - we'll link it to Skinfreak.co.uk! Just so you know, we're putting out Redemption as a digital single on December 13th. It would be great to get as many people behind the release as possible.
 
October 26, 2010
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