Bruce Dickinson's fourth effort at a solo album is ultimately overlooked. Skunkworks has a very, progressive rock feel to it. Almost like Rush or Soundgarden. Unlike Bruce Dickinson's 'Accident of Birth' and 'The Chemical Wedding' this album, is not heavy, but is in my ways, excellent. It has a very spacey feel to it, and many of the lyrics convey that feeling.
Joining Bruce Dickinson (who does vocals and excels at it) on this album is:
Alex Dickson (Guitars)
Alex Elena (Drums)
and Chris Dale (bass)
So here's a little track-by-track review.
SPACE RACE: This was an excellent choice for the opener to this album. The space-like guitars mesh well with Dickinson's voice and the drums give a nice off-kilter beat. Great song.
BACK FROM THE EDGE: Wow, this song really hits you in the face. The intro is sort of similar to the first track, but once it hits the chorus and Dickinson's overlapping vocals fill your ears, you almost feel as if you're a part of everything. Once again, an superb track on the album.
INERTIA: This song starts out immediately, but slow. Bruce Dickinson will sing to you sweetly until about 40 seconds into the song he screams the title name: "Inertia!" and the song suddenly becomes uplifting. Once again, you get that spacey feeling that's persistant throughout the album. Another track you won't skip over.
FAITH: This song, for the most part, is pretty straightforward. The chorus is really the main part of the song, very good and catchy. The guitar riffs sort of repeat over and over except when the chorus kicks in. Sort of repetative, but still good. Probably one weak point on the album. But definately not a dissapointment.
SOLAR CONFINEMENT: This is a killer tune. The spacey feeling returns, as Bruce Dickinson sings octaves beyond any other vocalist you can ever dish up. Every part of this song is excellent, although I'm not quite sure what the lyrics mean. The guitar solo is also very well excecuted. This might be one of the heaviest tracks on the album. Definately a favorite.
DREAMSTATE: This song is very interesting. It switches back and forth between sort of a dreamy, calm feeling to a chunky, head-bobber of a song. About two minutes into the song, Bruce Dickinson once again executes his high-pitched vocal, and then it mellows out again. ANother great track on the album.
I WILL NOT ACCEPT THE TRUTH: I don't know why, but something about this track reminds me of Soundgarden. Once again, it morphs between chill, dream-like guitar riffs and vocals, to Bruce Dickinson yelling "I will not believe your lies!" and "I will not accept the truth!" This is also a pretty straightforward song, but it's still just as good as the other tracks. The strong point in this song is definately Dickinson's vocal.
INSIDE THE MACHINE: This might be my second favorite track on the album. It starts with a relatively heavy riff, and then into a somewhat funky riff as Bruce sings about his machine. Superb singing in this song also. The chorus is very powerful. This song will definately make you want to dance, headbang, sing along, whatever. Fantastic.
HEADSWITCH: Back to the spacey feeling. Bruce Dickinson's vocals change substantially in the song. Instead of high-pitched singing, he goes into an odd, almost mechanical and distorted vocal, with obvious overdubs (which make it sound great). This is also another relatively heavy track, and the shortest. Excellent nonetheless.
MELTDOWN: This song is steadier than the last track, and Bruce goes back to his high-pitched vocal, and at some points he sounds like a trash metal singer. The chorus is once again the strong point of the song, and is very uplifting. Not one of the best tracks but still very good.
OCTAVIA: Without a doubt my favorite track on the album. Wow, this song is amazing! The verses are pretty calm, and very well done. ALl of the instruments and vocals mesh together almost organically. We pass two great verses and then hit the chorus which is absolutely phenominal. "How many times have we met this way? How many lives have we lived before? How many faces and how many names? Shadows come but shadows are gone..." Wow, amazing lyrics, spine-tingling vocal-work, and a very cool guitar riff. This deserves a lot of recognition.
INNERSPACE: This is also a very good track, and we have the space feeling in this one also. This song is pretty fast compared to the other (with the exception of Headswitch). The guitar work in the chorus is great, and sounds as if you're flying through space really fast. Sort of similar to the other tracks on the album considering the space-feel. Excellent solo, too.
STRANGE DEATH IN PARADISE: To tell you the truth, the song sort of bored me. I fell as if they could have ended the album with Innerspace. It's not terrible, just boring and similar to the other tracks with an exceptionally boring chorus.
Once again, this album is great and if you like 'Accident of Birth' and 'The CHamical Wedding', pick this one up and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Back From the Edge
Inside the Machine