A Burnt Offering for the Bone Idol

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1992's strangely titled A Burnt Offering for the Bone Idol brings pagan metal heads Skyclad closer to their goal of melding thrash and classic metal influences with folk music. Like the final piece to a puzzle, the addition of full-time fiddle player Fritha Jenkins boosts the band's courage, and the album's excellent first single "Spinning Jenny" epitomizes their direction and newfound sense of purpose. Songs like "A Broken Promised Land," "Alone in Death's Shadow," and "Karmageddon" still thrash convincingly, but also benefit from melodic keyboard lines and better singing (rather than grunting) from vocalist Martin Walkyier. Jenkins' contribution is key throughout, expertly infusing her melancholy violin textures into otherwise brutal thrashers such as "Salt on the Earth" and "The Declaration of Indifference." While purists may find this album too adventurous, more open-minded listeners will thoroughly enjoy it's original voice and sense of daring.

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