Review: “Radillac” by Skin Failure

Officially formed in 2021 after many years of riff gathering, Skin Failure are a quintet, made up of members of Black Peaks, Memory of Elephants and Kainoah who have found a new life in an ambitious Progressive Thrash project that knows no borders or boundaries when it comes to style or substance. Having made their live debut at ArcTanGent Festival earlier this summer they now place before us their debut album, a concept release. “Radillac” tells the story of an interdimensional ‘Jesus‘, flung into amphetamine-powered wormhole and travelling through time and space. ‘Meat Pond‘, track three from the record, has our ‘Jesus‘ finding himself in 1980s London, meeting a godlike Jeff Bridges and training in a Matrix-style montage… following so far?

Vocalist Will Gardner, guitarist duo Paul Stallan and Toby Stewart, bassist Dave Larkin and drummer Sam Simpson’s self description as being a “Progressive Thrash” act is about as loose a description as they come with the band playing a blend of Punk, Metal, Thrash and Hardcore with clear influences from Every Time I Die, Mastodon and Slayer spread across the duration of their debut record together. Opening cut “Sleeveless Jesus l The Void” crosses several subgenres in a death defying leap that is truly compelling with a lyrical narrative that can only be describes as being psychedelic in the frog licking sense. Gardner uses multiple voices and styles from the spoken word to the brutal roar to tell the story in a schizophrenic fashion. That gives the impression of more than one vocalist being present on some of these cuts when the only guest is comedy legend Ed Gamble on “Remy LeBeau’s Big Pile of Bones“, a hilarious skit that ushers in the sonic destruction of “Full Throttle Nothing pt2 l The Montage“. The music is well written and clever, the pacing balanced on a knife edge to give Gardner the time and space he needs while delivering an ocean of headbangable speed Thrash riffs between sections of feedback.

Having set the bar high for themselves from the start, the album is actually one that gets better as it plays out, the tongue in cheek reference to the Iron Maiden classic “Run To The Hills” on “Southern Fried Homicide l The Radillac Battle Sequence“, an in joke on a rampage through Thrash riffs that gives Municipal Waste a run for their money. The huge breakdown section in the final quarter of this one being the creator of tornado like circle pits when they take it live. That opens up the floor for the breakneck adrenaline speed junkie that is “Give’r By the River l As Bridges Fell (Metal Alarm Call)” as it hits like an unannounced battering ram to the door at 2am. A high octane incendiary cut into which the band manage to cram atmosphere, it’s another vicious twist in the this constantly shape shifting white knuckle hell ride that you simply have to strap yourself in for. There maybe times when you ask yourself exactly what you’re listening to but you’ll be cracking a smile at the same time, telling yourself that you simply don’t care because it sounds good and finale “Radical One l Amphetamine Dreamland” is a prime example. The first have a feral rager of a tune, it fades eclectically in the middle to an acoustic dream against sounds from an 80’s space age as it floats away… [8/10]

Track Listing

1: Intro l In time and Space
2: Sleeveless Jesus l The Void
3: Meat Pond l Down by the River
4: Skit l Remy LeBeau’s Big Pile of Bones (ft. Ed Gamble)
5: Full Throttle Nothing pt2 l The Montage
6: The Beast Awaketh l A Hole in the Sky
7: Southern Fried Homicide l The Radillac Battle Sequence
8: Give’r By the River l As Bridges Fell (Metal Alarm Call)
9: Radical One l Amphetamine Dreamland

Radillac” by Skin Failure is out 11th November 2022 via Small Pond

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