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Skin : Breaking The Silence

Reformations, reunions, comebacks, call them what you will, are filled with pitfalls and preconceived ideas that can often scupper them before they really get going. The real quandary is, do you go back to the sound the band was best known for and run the risk of being classed as a "heard it all before", or do you release something far more "current" and hope that the fans you had want to move along with you? Well maybe the fact that Skin, after starting out with a tremendous self titled debut album back in 1994 full of straight ahead hard rock anthems with surprisingly intelligent lyrics, took a bit of a left turn with the follow up albums (1996's Lucky and 1997's Experience Electric), made the decision not to tinker any more with their sound easier, however the decision to the return to their roots with Skin's first studio album in thirteen years is indeed a welcome one.

Returning with the same four piece of Nev Macdonald on vocals, Myke Gray on guitar, Andy Robbins on bass and Dicki Fliszar on drums that played on all of the band's previous albums, it really is as if the last sixteen years never happened, as Breaking The Silence picks up perfectly from where the band's debut album left off. Smart riffs, sharp hooks, a bluesy under-current, top notch guitar playing and one of the most under rated singers the UK has produced results in an absolute belter of an album. Gray, who has worked with everyone from UFO to Bruce Dickinson (as well as Right Said Fred and Mr Bean!) kicks the album off with a spiralling piece of guitar that is punctuated by Fliszar's snare crack and Robbins pounding bass, before the unmistakable earthy roar that is Nev Macdonald smacks you around the kisser. The song is called "Good To Be Back", and I couldn't have said it better myself. From there it is a rollercoaster ride through some of the most heartfelt, straight ahead rock that you are likely to stumble into for a long time. "Don't Call It Love" falls somewhere between the bluesy stomp of prime-time Quo and AC/DC, before "Stronger" calms things down a little with Nev taking complete control with his ridiculously powerful, yet natural delivery.

The highlights come at you thick and fast, with "Can You Feel It?" building and building into a hugely intense crescendo that you just can't resist, "The Book Of Your Life" confidently swaggering along on a throbbing bass line that lets Gray rip out an emotion filled solo and "When I'm With You" which sees Myke bring out the acoustic for a heart-tugging slower number that sways from an almost countrified twang, to a middle section that verges on power ballad territory. I'm please to say that there is no second half slide on this album either, and the standard remains amazingly high through the thumping "Trigger Inside", where Fliszar belts seven shades of hell out of his toms and Nev spits out the most gritty vocal on the album. "Indestructible" maintains the hard hitting blues feel, before the acoustic singalong of "Redemption", which may be one of the more restrained songs on the album, but is undoubtedly one of the most memorable, expertly changes the tempo once more. Bringing up the rear is the high octane twin attack of "Bad Reputation" and "Born To Rock 'N' Roll", the former once again sees Gray illustrate why his six string work has been sorely missed for all these years, while the latter is the sort of rabble rousing chant that reminds you why you got into this music in the first place!

It is brilliant to finally have a new Skin album and one that gets right to the heart of what made them such a hope for UK rock all those years ago and it is even more amazing that the foursome have returned in such blistering form to produce what is arguably their best album. My only disappointment about Breaking The Silence is that Skin have already confirmed that it is to be their last album and while I can't hide my sadness that there will be no more new music from this band, what a way to bow out!

The physical format of Breaking The Silence is only available from the band's website, so follow the link below to grab your copy and while you're at it, get tickets for the band's farewell UK tour.

Track Listing
1. Good To Be Back
2. Don't Call It Love
3. Stronger
4. Can You Feel It?
5. The Book Of Your Life
6. When I'm With You
7. Trigger Inside
8. Indestructible
9. Redemption
10. Bad Reputation
11. Born To Rock 'N' Roll

Added: November 11th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Official Skin Web Site
Hits: 2554
Language: english

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