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Skold: Never Is Now

I must admit that me and Tim Skold go all the way back to his now much derided Shotgun Messiah days. Back then the singing bassist and his band were glam totting sleazesters of the highest, if overlooked, order. But if Shotgun Messiah are remembered for one thing, then it is their Violent New Breed album which saw the party boys go further than any of the suddenly cut adrift hair bands in embracing trends and scenes as they basically created the first - maybe the only - industrial sleaze album. Fans hated it, critics rated if even less and history tells us it’s an awful, misguided piece of gargantuan folly. But don’t believe a word of it, because, unexpected and derided or not, VNB was bravely stunning.

The reception the album received signalled the end of the band but from there Skold found something his previous musical life had never been able to offer him - credibility. Gigs with Marylin Manson and KMFDMF and production duties with the likes of Motionless In White putting the ex Messiah right at the heart of a new violent breed. Alongside all of that has been a solo career where Skold has burrowed deeper into his industrial leanings to, according to fan reaction, pretty good effect. I must admit that Never Is Now is my only encounter with Skold on his own terms and first impressions have left me somewhat nonplussed due to this album’s willingness to pretty much worship at the alter of early Nine Inch Nails.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Pretty Hate Machine and the Broken and Fixed EPs still mainstays of my own personal playlists. However, emulating a genuine scene setter is never easy and so it proves here, what with NIN (who’d have thought that this album’s initials would spell that out so clearly?) all too content to play it safe and steady both in terms of pace and intention. For an angry record, everything here is simply far too polite - the angst, ire and unpredictability that made early industrial music so damn dangerous sadly lacking. Instead, after a steady start with the album’s title track and “Small World”, the likes of “Please Remain Calm” meanders aimlessly and with such predictability that an album of fifteen tracks really would benefit from shedding at least five of its number. Respite does arrive on “This Is The End”, which offers up a near disco diversion that breaks through the gloom but it’s an exception and all too brief at that.

Oddly “Idle Hands” and it’s opening lyrical foray of ‘It doesn't matter if you’re wrong or if you're right, Stand and deliver, It makes no difference if it's black or if it’s white,’ had me wondering if it was a rearrangement of the Phil Lynott/Gary Moore “Out In The Fields” collaboration, but alas no. And with it any hope that the second half of Never Is Now will lay down anything loosely unexpected fritters away.

This isn’t a bad album, but it’s difficult to dispel the notion that there isn’t a fair amount of coasting going on, with genuinely dangerous, cutting intents neutered by the execution and sound. In short doses the effect isn’t quite so tame, but as a collection of fifteen songs, not only is Never Is Now too long, it’s also far too civil for its own good.

Track Listing
1. Never Is Now
2. Small World
3. Pharmaceuticals
4. Roses
5. Please Remain Calm
6. Ravenous
7. In Another Life
8. This Is The End
9. Idle Hands
10. Temple Of Rage
11. Be Brave
12. American Bluff
13. This Is What You Get
14. Insatiable
15. And So 

Added: December 26th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Skold on facebook
Hits: 863
Language: english

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