Skin Yard

Hallowed Ground

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Grunge is often thought of as being closely aligned with punk -- after all, the movement did effectively strip rock free of gloss and pretentiousness -- several Seattle bands must have also had a few prog releases in their LP collections. This claim could definitely be said about Soundgarden (who never turned down a wacky time signature offer), as well as Skin Yard. Although lesser known than early-'90s grunge chart toppers, Skin Yard was an important act -- led by renowned producer Jack Endino, the group issued a handful of underrated releases during a seven-year career, including their 1988 sophomore full-length, Hallowed Ground. But don't be misled, although there are indeed some tricky bits included here, it's not music that has been slaved over in the studio and dissected -- the members' punk backgrounds are certainly reflected in the live-in-the-room production. Standouts include the album-opening "Stranger" (which musically, is comparable to early Shudder to Think), "Open Fist" (with melodic vocals that bring to mind Bob Mould), and the groove-y title track.