ALBUM REVIEW: Legacy of Blood – Skiltron

By anyone’s criteria SKILTRON are a curious bunch. Of Argentinian origin, they peddle a sound and image straight outta Scotland, creating albums full of tales of brave warriors and mighty battles fought. Since debut album The Clans Have United, SKILTRON have become a more international affair. They now split their time between South America and Europe and the vocalist on new release Legacy Of Blood is brit Martin McManus.

Legacy of Blood has been released by German Pagan/Viking metal label Trollzorn, but using the term ‘Folk metal’ doesn’t give an entirely accurate picture of the goodies contained within. A band like ELUVEITIE weave the sound of several traditional instruments together, whereas SKILTRON sound more like an old school British or German power metal band, but just happen to have added bagpipes to give their unique selling point. SKILTRON have been quoted in the past as saying that they adopted their Scottish trappings as it suited the bombastic nature of the sound they wanted to adopt and anyone familiar with their back catalogue will find plenty to like on Legacy Of Blood.

Highland Blood kicks things off in familiar, uptempo rabble-rousing style. The core riff belts along like ENSIFERUM’S Two Of Spades, the bagpipes solo away merrily over the top and there’s a chorus which only the steadfastly melancholy could refuse to sing. Rollicking stuff. Hate of my life isn’t too much of a sonic leap away from its predecessor, but it’s the lyrical outcast of the album,as the subject matter is a bitter relationship break-up, rather than marching off to battle and slaying a thousand foe or something equally manly. “The hate of my life, the hate I live with, I’ve been through a hell, I blame you for it”.

Committed To The Call, as the title suggests, takes us back into more familiar territory. The bagpipes are toned down a little and the end result sounds like one of JUDAS PRIEST’s slower moments. Sailing Under False Flags is a mid-paced chugalong epic, with all the necessary elements in place for a perfect night setting the world to rights while quaffing flagons of mead in a scuzzy tavern somewhere only bad people go. Atmospheric, slowly building introduction? – Check. Bouncy rolling riff? -Check. Talk of using cannons to wipe out a corrupt foe? – Check. Chorus laden with whoa-oa-oas?- You got it.

The Taste of Victory is, like Highland Blood, built around a near-impossible-to-forget chorus. “Now’s the time to fight with honour on this glorious battlefield, Will you die or will you join me in the taste of victory.” It’s perhaps not surprising that there’s a JUDAS PRIEST flavour that seeps into parts of Legacy Of Blood, as Martin McManus also fronts a PRIEST tribute act. That is again in evidence during Rise From Any Grave during which SKILTRON warn us “There’s evil all around, so I’ll put you in the ground”.

Sawney Bean Clan is a slow burner, which allows more breathing space for the folk elements within SKILTRON’S repertoire, before some Iron Maiden influences come to the fore in the latter stages. All Men Die reverts to full on metal, but as with every other track on Legacy Of Blood, there’s melody by the bucketload.

SKILTRON’s sound hasn’t undergone a radical change since Legacy Of Blood’s predecessor Into The Battleground, but there’s a greater emphasis on the choruses, making them more suitable for mass singalongs and that has to be a good thing.

Rating: 7/10

Legacy of Blood - Skiltron

Legacy of Blood is set for release on September 30 via Trollzorn Records.

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