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skyclad-jonahs-arkBy the time British folk metallers Skyclad had come to their third album, the thrash roots of the band were but a memory, whilst the initially sparsely used folk elements were rising to ever greater prominence in the sound; they had even added a full time violin/keyboard player to the line-up. So now the band had become what they are most famous as: one of the, if not the first folk metal band in the world.

In other aspects the band had also matured to be what they are most known and loved as; for one, vocalist Martin Walkyier’s lyrics tackled more directly socio-political themes with his trademark acerbic wit and clever wordplay. One cannot really stress how integral the intelligent and witty yet also memorable and catchy lyrics are/were to the charm of Skyclad. And all delivered with Walkyier’s equally trademark hoarse, slightly lisping voice, although the shouted thrash stylings were a thing of the past here.

However, as with quite many of their albums, Skyclad have padded the good songs with fillers and far less interesting tracks, and on Jonah’s Ark, there’s a filler for every memorable track, and as such it has no place among their best albums. Still, when Skyclad hit the sweet spot, like on opener Thinking Allowed and the hight point of the album, Earth Mother, The Sun And The Furious Host, the results are nothing short of classic.

A decent album, but one that pales in comparison to what would follow in the next years…