Saturday, July 06, 2013


Pure Steel Records
This album, the 3rd full-length release from heavy metal band Skinflint, was originally released by Metal Records (on Cd-Rom) at the tail end of 2012. Here again we see Pure Steel Records scooping up another traditional heavy metal band in order to re-release one of their albums. While I've been critical about some of their promotional decisions in the past (Tungsten Axe comes to mind, but then there's also Brute Forcz) with Skinflint I do believe their on to something. This band certainly has potential even if their is still a bit of room for improvement. We'll get back to that in a minute or two though as we have other issues to address. While I didn't do a search through the records, which I admit was laziness on my part, I'm almost 100% positive that this album presents a new milestone. This marks the first time I have covered a band from Botswana. That's not at all surprising when you stop to consider where we are talking about. The fact that there is any scene there is rather cool in and or itself. As we look at this 3-piece band then, which is lead by vocalist/guitarist Giuseppe "Juice" Sbrana, we see a group that has managed to fight off the long odds to get where they are today. When you step back and look at Skinflint then you've got to admire what they have achieved and how far they've come. So, what have they achieved music-wise then? Well, this is pretty much classic metal 101. While it does throw a curve ball or two at you with it's use of African drums, which does give the music at hand a rather cool vibe now and then, "Dipoko" is one of those albums where it's easy to pin-point the obvious influences. Band's like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest play a small part, but mostly it's bands like Black Sabbath and post-Black album Metallica that come out of the shadows on this somewhat creeping album. You get a true sense of impending doom on "Dipoko" as the production is fairly basic and most definitely dry. The overall vibe of this release is just one of creeping, it's slowing reaching out for you, death. Even when the group, which is rounded out by bassist Kebonye "Raskebo" Nkoloso and drummer Sandra Sbrana, starts to pick up the speed by employing  Metallica and Megadeth style thrash, which I wish they would have done a little more consistency, the album never really takes off. It remains grounded in a rather low-key kind of way as it is just saying "I am what I am like it or leave!". That's both a good thing and a band thing. It's good in that you have an album that's quite effective despite never growing beyond it's core roots, but bad in that too much of this suffers from the same sound/different song curse. This shows a band that knows what they're capable of, but haven't quite figured out how to put it all together effectively. Dry and musty metal is somewhat of an intriguing concept that's worth exploring more, but I'd love to see this band branch out a little bit song-structure wise as too much of it just blurs together. Still, I did enjoy this album and will be keeping an eye on Skinflint as it's obvious the potential is there to knock it out of the park.

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