As you all know, I have a disproportionate amount of love for all things 80’s and metal. From Iron Maiden to early Metallica, to new revival bands like Steel Panther and Hardcore Superstar; early Slayer and proto-death. So unsurprisingly, I love the latest album by Botswana’s warriors of metal, Skinflint and if I may go so far as to quote myself (Yes, you are – Ed) “Skinflint have disregarded anything post 1984”.
Nyemba stands almost as an evolution of their previous album, Dipoko, and is most welcome in my daily playlist! “Veya” kicks off the album and within the first few chords sets the tone for this release, It’s deliberately old school, with simple yet powerful riffs, and Giuseppe’s raspy tones add a somewhat blackened feel over the traditional heavy feel. All throughout the album, there are spikes of widdly guitars, and by now, you should know I love me some widdly bits! Every song is crafted around a solid melody, and then put through a steamroller, adding some crushing traditional heaviness. (Not to be confused with “Trve Brvtality”). This trend continues through “The Pits of Wydah”.
“Okove” is the closest to classic USPM on this album, from the soft opening to the chugging riff and chanting chorus. It can be likened to early Manowar, in that regard, only with a more garage feel, which carries over into “Abiku”.
The whole album really has this garage, DIY feel about it, which in this era of overproduced schlock is really refreshing! I love this stuff, no overcomplicated layering, no autotune and no bullshit! Just straight up, non-diluted metal!
“The Wizard and His Hound” follows this sheer metality with something a little different. It’s a bluesy, Devil-Went-Down-to-Georgia kind of track and it serves as a great midway point to the album, expressing influences stretching beyond the usual “Big Four” which every band and their dog list as influences.
“Sinkinda”, “Muti” and “The Witches Dance” all follow strongly after “The Wizard…” and flows like a three-part opus with Hills and valleys, stellar guitar work and powerful, dark lyrics. It reminds me of a time when bands weren’t afraid to tell stories with their music. In fact, this element of storytelling is felt throughout the album, but with these three closing tracks it really takes centre stage.
Skinflint is the type of band I can really get behind. I heaped tons of praise on Dipoko and this album is no different. It’s a blueprint to follow. It’s an homage to the days when you could record whatever you wanted and it would find a cult audience. It’s an album full of hidden touches that, after the 42nd listen, will surprise you. It’s an album to be appreciated for its straightforward approach to metal, with touches of blues influence that has sadly been lost in more modern bands.
If you claim to love “Old School Metal” you cannot afford to let this album slip you by. Buy it, listen to it, make your friends listen to it. Crank it up to eleven and make your neighbours listen. It reminds me of where metal began, right before it exploded into the mainstream. It’s primal and raw, It’s powerful and creative. It’s Heavy Fucking Metal!
Stream “Veya” by Skinflint below:
Nyemba is available now on the band’s website.