Skold – Dies Irae
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Running Time: 38:18
Review by Wallace Magri
Tim Skold is well known as a multi-instrumentalist, synth programmer plus a highly requested composer and music producer. His first musical journey was around 1987 with the Swedish Glam/Sleaze Metal band Shotgun Messiah, that recorded three albums and, by the way, the last Shotgun Messiah’s release, “Violent New Breed” (1993), was one of the very first Industrial Glam/Rock albums to date. After splitting Shotgun Messiah, Tim Skold launched himself into a solo career, releasing “Skold” in 1996, and right after that, he was invited to join KMFDM.
For those who are not that familiar with Industrial Rock/Metal Music, KMFDM is an institution in that genre. They were one of the pioneers on turning the noisy-non-commercial Industrial’s original proposal (search for Throbbing Gristle on google) into a more electronic Heavy Oriented sound, once they realized that it would be a cool idea to sample really extreme heavy guitar riffs and repeat them to the limit, until it becomes a wall of sound that fit just fine with the Industrial noisy beats and raging vocal performances.
Tim Skold collaborated on KMFDM’s 1997 album “Symbols” and remained in the band for “Adios”, released in 1999. After leaving KMFDM he started to produce and compose with Marilyn Manson and ended up playing bass guitar on “The Golden Age Of Grotesque” (2003) and also composed all the songs, programmed the samples and produced Marilyn Manson’s 2007 underrated album “Eat Me, Drink Me”. On that album there were lots of good guitar licks and solos, performed by Tim Skold. On ‘Evidence’ I heard the best guitar solo ever, on a Manson album (I am sorry, John 5…).
Anyway, after being fired from Marilyn Manson, Tim Skold went back to his solo career for good, releasing “Anomie” (2011), “The Undoing” (2016) and “Never is Now” (2019). On those albums, Skold flirted a lot with Electro Synth Industrial and relegated the live guitar element to a second place role.
“Dies Irae”, on the other hand, is another kind of monster. “So let me start from the beginning, because that will help you understand”*. Skold’s fifth album is mostly built over ferocious live guitar riffs, as heard right in the first song, ‘Dirty Horizon’. That reminded me of Mercyful Fate’s ‘Don’t Break The Oath’ NWOBHM Satanic Music (which was my favourite bedtime nightmare music, in my messed up childhood back in the 80’s).If you enjoy those kind of guitar oriented Metal songs, but also accept some dark-electro ambience in the seasoning, just listen to ‘This Is The Way’, and tell me what you think about that kick ass guitar solo in the middle. On ‘Unspoken’ Tim Skold has, arguably, performed his best guitar solo to date (* By the way, I’ve taken the first verse of the ‘Unspoken’ lyrics to help me to introduce my impressions on the album)
After listening to “Dies Irae” a bunch of times, it felt like Tim Skold is in his best shape ever, delivering the kind of music that he helped to create along with KMFDM and mostly in the Marilyn Manson years, from whom he inherited that peculiar singing technique. So, beware, because Tim Skold’s vocals are something that the listeners need to get used to. Don’t expect something like King Diamond here because he sings in a constant growling and distorted style, for the purpose of expressing his feelings through his viscera.
On ‘Terrified’, Skold explores in its perfection that sort of “singing technique” and it really gives me Goosebumps, especially while he sings the melancholic chorus: “I am not afraid of dying/I am fucking terrified”. Follow that by listening to the post-electro-punk ‘Love Is A Disease’ and keep going with ‘As Above so Below’ and ‘Kill Yourself’.
On ‘Silicon Dreams’ he invocates his best David Bowie’s melodramatic approach in the pre-chorus, that fit just fine with Industrial Rock/Metal music. I am afraid to say that David Bowie ruled the crazy minds of all those “cyberpunks and crypto-anarchists”, such as Skold, Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson, allowing them, in silicon dreams, be kings and queens, through their noisy machines, while worshipping Baphomet (*adapted from the ‘Silicon Dreams’ lyrics and listening to Bowie’s “Black Tie White Noise”, from 1993, right now).
The fact is that “Dies Irae” has many exciting moments and shows that Skold is delivering the goods to keep his relevance in the growing EMB/Gothic/Industrial scene. If you enjoy this kind of music, just push the play button and I am sure that you are going to enjoy the guitar work, the production, mixing and the excellent choices of programming and layers of noise that provides the songs a good taste of gloomy ambience that defines the general aesthetic of the album.
‘Dirty Horizon’ (Official Video)
01. Dirty Horizon
03. The End Is Near
05. Love Is A Disease
06. This Is The Way
07. Silicon Dreams
08. As Above So Bellow
09. Kill Yourself
Tim Skold – Guitars, Vocals and Programming
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