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by Ray Dorsey

"Skye Klad II"

You probably figure you've got me pegged, got this ol' scribe nailed to the wall when it comes to the way he reviews a record he really digs. He makes a couple semi-clever analogies, then tries to home in on a description of the album by trotting out a few comparisons. Well, sorry to disappoint you good ol' folks, but this time I can't accomodate your expectations, so different & out-of-left-field is this band. Not to be confused with the Skyclad from England, who's exciting brand of Celtic metal has long been a fave in these quarters.

SKYE KLAD hails from Minnesota and this disc, in keeping with it's shocking (lol) title is the band's 2nd CD. I must say, it's been in my player a whole freaking lot. Jason Kesserling & Erik Wivinus amp up their guitars with layer after layer of distortion &, with tuning slightly askew, then procede to concoct melodies that would make most pop hooksmen weep in envy for just long enough before they plummet down the rabbit-hole of the unusual, bringing it all back to square within 2 to 4 minutes.

Dave Onnen (bass) & Matt Zaun (drums) alternately drive the bus & hang on for dear life as SKYE KLAD run the gamut with "Reign Song," "Outrider" & "Sunwheel," not to mention the Irving Berlin cover, "Blue Skies." Kesserling's vocals are always odd, perpetually interesting & never quite sound like anybody else as the band careen through glowing songs that bring together everything from mega-jangling metallic punk pop to heavy prog-psych ("Lex Talionis"). An album like "Skye Klad II" is the kind of breathtaking, wonderful surprise that makes me constantly look forward to that next brown package in the mailbox. Stunning!

NOTE: Dave Onnen was also kind enough to send me SKYE KLAD's eponymous debut from 2000. Concentrating on longer cuts, even odder proggy moments & less of the maddeningly wondrous catchiness of "...II," it's another kaleidescopic view of this ultra-cool band & highly recommended.

Ray is the author of the Chaos Realm website