Full Album - Skunkworks

Full Album - Skunkworks
none 4.0 1

For sharing thoughts and ratings on the full album.

My individual song ratings average 3.4, which is a little bit low to my liking. My intuition would maybe say around 3.7 stars, closer to 4 than 3 in any case.

Obviously Bruce was doing something different here. He found this super-talented guitar player to write songs for him, and there’s almost no metal included. Not that the lack of metal matters. I’ve heard a lot of comments about “Bruce going grunge”. I didn’t care about genres and I still don’t, but surely this is different from anything else he’s done.

Some obvious highlights include “Back From the Edge”, which is one of Bruce’s best songs and a very important song for me, and the magnificent “Strange Death in Paradise” that has at least one discussion forum named after it. On the other hand, when you put out 13 songs, rarely all of them are killers. But the unique vibe that this album has, carries easily over its length. Nobody knows where another Skunkworks album would have taken the band, but that wasn’t to be, and there are also huge positive sides to that, like the next couple of albums that Bruce did before re-joining Maiden. Also, the fact that they only did one album together, adds to the legend. There’s nothing else like Skunkworks.

As I’ve mentioned in several song topics, I’m a huge fan of Alex Dickson’s work on this album. It would be next to nothing without the compositions of course, but where he excels is the arrangement of guitars. For this type of music, his sense of style was perfect. He knew what effects to use for each section, where to add an extra guitar track or introduce a little new lead, stuff like that. And he mostly kept it simple in terms of layered guitars. There aren’t too many guitar tracks in these songs. You don’t need that if you know what to do with less. (When it comes to playing metal during live shows, that was obviously never his thing.)

To me, this is Bruce and Alex’s album. Well, they wrote the music of course. But I’m not the greatest fan of Alessandro Elena’s drumming, although he has his moments too, for example in “Meltdown” and “I Will Not Accept the Truth”. Chris Dale is a good bass player, but his role on the album is not too big in my opinion – I mean he mostly stays in the background, which is fine of course.

Thank you, Bruce, for exploring ideas beyond the most obvious. Skunkworks was important to me in my youth, and that hasn’t changed.

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