Review Summary: Skold has got his muse back -- thank God herself for this miracle.
In the New Testament there is a story about the time God went down to Earth in order to indulge in a little skeeball. He ends up being held captive by a fucking demon that is trying to cause the end of the world. Of course that’s not cool and the Angels know it, so they charge two prophets and Rufus The Black Apostle with the task of bringing Jesus’ bangin hot great great great great great grand-niece to the Catholic Church (run by Thomas the Train) to stop the nefarious plot. During their travels they meet a muse that has fallen from heaven in order to indulge in her own personal hotness. During their time with her she mentions that she has been able to influence countless other people but that she can’t seem to keep any inspiration for herself – it would suck to be her, except she’s damn hot. It’s a really good story that also involves a shit demon and batshit insane Angels with good hair… you should read it.
At this point you might be wondering what that has to do with the latest solo album by Tim Skold – allow me to bring this around full circle. Tim seems to have the same problem as the muse in that biblical story (he shoots, he scores!). Shotgun Messiah? He single handedly dragged them away from cock rock and towards the bleaker pastures of thunderous industrial metal. Marylin Manson? He basically wrote and played all the music for the albums he was on while Manson played American Idol the home version (i.e. he only sang). KMFDM? Ok, that one is up in the air, but they were on cruise control by the time he showed up so get off his back. Skold, the debut solo album? Total garbage. I’m not sure why he couldn’t save any cool ideas for his self, but the fact is that he couldn’t. That’s why it was hard not to chuckle when the first single for his sophomore solo album was called “Suck”. It turned out, though, that I was the chucklehead because that EP was a return to the metalized industrial of his Violent New Breed
release. The only question that remained was whether he could actually pull it off for an entire album. He did.
is Tim Skold’s first solo album in fifteen years and it appears as though the time away did him some good. One of the biggest benefits of having Tim Skold in your band has always been that his riffs are excellent (especially when compared to your average ‘industrial riff’), and he has delivered some of his best on this release. The opening track, “(This is My) Elephant”, begins with a brooding melody that reminds me of the opening to Def Leppard
’s “Too Late For Love” in all the best possible ways. It eventually transitions into a heavier riff that has more in common with rock than industrial (but with the necessary electronic accompaniment). That alone is enough to make the song more diverse and ‘musical’ than your average industrial metal track, but Skold wasn’t done yet. Before “(This is My) Elephant” is over Tim has blown through a ripping guitar solo, a few different transitional elements and even a short acoustic section. It’s the perfect opening to show to all the doubting assholes (like me) that Tim Skold is firing on all cylinders and that he isn’t going to be holding anything back. This refusal to work within the limited confines of your typical industrial blueprint is one of this album’s main attractions – diversity.
Tim Skold’s musical background makes it possible for him to create songs that can pull from melodic rock one moment and black metal the next without sounding schizophrenic or directionless. It almost seems like he made a conscious effort to include just a little bit from each of his previous projects without rehashing someone else’s sound. There’s the sarcastic abrasiveness of KMFDM hiding just underneath the simpler beats and accessible riffs of a few tracks. There’s the thrashy domination of songs such as “Angel of Noise” with its occasional black metal flourishes that hint back to a time when Shotgun Messiah was confusing its make-up sporting fans with a heavy industrial release that seemed to come from nowhere. There’s darker, moodier tracks that pull from EBM that aren’t really like anything he has done before, and none of these stylistic embellishments sound tacked on or ‘token’. If there is a problem with this album, it’s that Tim Skold’s vocals still aren’t what they should be. Don’t get me wrong, he definitely gets the job done, but a vocalist with just a little more power and range could really take the music to another level. At any rate, it’s the only minor issue with the album.
I don’t know what happened to Tim Skold during the fifteen year break between solo albums, but he definitely regained his power to keep some of those great ideas for himself. Over the course of Anomie
Tim is able to create a diverse collection of songs that pull from his entire career. He is able to skillfully merge catchy 80s rock riffs with mechanical industrial beats one moment and then turn around and deliver a wall of power chords and blast beats the next without ever sounding awkward or gimmicky. I can tell you one thing for sure, Anomie
is probably making all of those other bands piss themselves for not trying harder to keep him around. Oh, and if you’re still trying to figure out where that story is in the bible, it’s near the back. Trust me, it’s there. Snoogans.