Skyclad – Tracks From the Wilderness (Review)

What makes a great cover version? There’s only one question you have to ask: does the band covering the song make it their own? Skyclad’s cover of Thin Lizzy’s Emerald is excellent. It’s faithful to the original song but the more metallic, aggressive and threatening delivery along with the clever use of violin to handle the chorus riff and bridge ensures the song fits perfectly in Skyclad’s folk metal oeuvre. Extra points awarded for guest guitar from Lizzy’s ‘Robbo’ Robertson and the fact that this version is responsible for me getting into Thin Lizzy in the first place! Even if I (and probably you) ultimately prefer the original there is no denying this is an inspired and enjoyable cover version.

Emerald opens their 1992 EP Tracks From the Wilderness and is followed by two studio cuts that sadly don’t keep up the standard it sets. A Room Next Door is a decent ballad with beautiful, rustic acoustic guitars but When All Else Fails is forgettable thrash. Neither are in the same league as the Lizzy cover or up to the quality of the tracks on the band’s previous two albums. The lack of Fritha Jenkins’ violin on these suggests they were probably off-cuts from the band’s debut album. The EP closes out with three energetic and endearing live tracks from the Dynamo festival. The band are tight and Martin Walkyier delivers each song with zeal. These excellent performances round out a worthwhile stop-gap release but there’s no denying this is mainly worth buying for Emerald. For fans only.

50 thoughts on “Skyclad – Tracks From the Wilderness (Review)”

    1. Still going I think, but not very active and most of this lineup are gone, including the singer. He’s a big hero of mine so I lost interest when he left. A couple of guys from this lineup have reformed their old NWOBHM band Satan and seem to be focusing on that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It happens across all musical genres when someone quits the diehards lose interest. It’s awesome thougn you show such passion and entuhuasism for this genre of Metal that quite frankly I’m afraid of! Hahaha….
        I do enjoy reading these reviews as their bands I know nothing about!
        Keep them flowing HMO!

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I had Rock Til You Drop,All For One and Inferno! Than Raven signed with Atlantic records and put out a commercial album. Went for the cash and failed …I moved on passed on the albums to a friend.
    Having said that the song All For One was a clever written piece of Metal! Good song lyrics even cooler….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I read that mystical fantasy book thing that inspired them, The Way of Wyrd – can’t remember a thing about it now. You can use that story on your internet blog, if you like.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a great cover version has two components, and you got one right – the band doing the covering has to make it their own. But I think the other side is that the original song has to be strong enough to hold up to be covered! I’ve heard many covers that made me say “but… why?” I’m glad the Lizzy cover is strong, though. That’s a tough act to follow! And certainly not questioning whether the original was strong enough, with that one!

    I like the sounds of this EP overall. And I like the band’s name. Sounds like a company that sells siding painted like clouds! Confuse the fuck out of birds…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true. Goes without saying though… it’s a classic Lizzy track. It’s worth covering! But quite a brave one to pick.

      Apparently Skyclad is a pagan word for being naked. Presumably outside.


      1. There’s a pagan lady at the last firm I worked at and she was saying they regularly go skyclad at various ceremonies and rituals – I didn’t think we had the climate for it really.

        Liked by 1 person

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