Second Skin: Captive Audience
Second Skin have existed for about a decade, however Captive Audience is the Glasgow band's debut disc of progressive themes delivered with a metallic bight and wide variety of influences. Heavier than Porcupine Tree, but not prog metal in the sense that the exercise is to dazzle with dexterity, Second Skin have a canny knack of taking complex and challenging themes and somehow managing to present them in such a way that the music sounds bright, tight and accessible.
Vocalist Ian McCall, who also shares guitar duties with Sandy Wilson, possesses a melodic tortured voice in the vein of Manic Street Preacher, James Dean Bradfield, as he rips through some of the insightful lyrics with passion and an under lying sense of anger. His vocal attack sits well with the one minute ferocious and the next jangly guitars and along with drummer Mark Elliott contributes to some excellent harmonies. The guitar pairing also lock tight with bassist Ali Walker and often the three can be heard playing off each as other as they slowly build themes into in your face indie/prog metal. At time it is an unusual mix, however with the likes of "Spoonful Of Sugar" which contains an excellent spiralling riff, it is also memorable and interesting.
The staccato attack of "Meanderthal" or the unrelenting "HPID" where an insistent riff and screamed, sung and growled vocal assault you, one of the issues of Captive Audience is found, as even though the later track has a less intense guitar break and rebuild, the overriding feeling is of being battered and battered with angsty, violent bursts. The tracks are enjoyable enough, however they can feel a little overly tortured. With only two of the twelve songs clocking in at less than five minutes fifteen there are times, such as the more restrained "...What The River Carries" or "Is This How Far We've Come", when the band do decide to turn down the intensity however these tracks can take a little long to actually make their point. The pluses do however outweigh the minuses and this album is in many places a compelling listen.
Considering this is Second Skin's recorded debut there is bags of potential on show here and with a little honing of their skills, there's little doubt that this band could be one to watch.
1. If You Knew
2. Pawned Life
3. Fashion Victim
4. Captive Audience
5. Spoonful Of Sugar
6. Triggered Happy
7. Is This How Far We've Come?
9. Among The Mute Majority
10. Capable Of Anything
12. ...What The River Carries
Added: March 21st 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
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