Doubleblind by SkunkRelease date: April 20, 2017
Somewhere out there is an alternate universe where music stopped at the 1970’s with the rise of the stoned out riffs of Black Sabbath. A world of denim clad hordes, wreathed in pot smoke, feasting on magic mushrooms. The only currency is that of homegrown leaf, warm cider and battle jackets. Festooned upon a graveyard of fallen bands, the mighty riff has grown to sermon like levels, all thought of progression wiped away for the here and now. The spirit of heavy metal, the true sound before it morphed into all manner of bastardised sounds. When metal was metal and hewn out of rock by cavemen.
That’s where Skunk belong. Like the trapped mosquito in amber, they are a glimpse back to the glory days of proto-metal. A hybrid of Sabbath fronted by the vocals of Bon Scott, stoner riffs with the outlaw frontman. Self-destructive only in the sense of blowing their minds with weed and beer, they place themselves firmly within that bedrock of bands who would change an entire genre of music. That moment when psychedelia and hard rock merged, and out of the garagelands emerged a new breed of band.
One look at the song titles alerts you to what lies ahead. Tracks like ‘Wizard Bong’ and ‘Devil Weed’ forewarn of what to expect, and whilst the cynical in us may raise our eyebrows, Skunk actually manage to get away with any immature notions by being rather good at what they do. What you see is what you get, and delivered with a passion and energy which is simply infectious.
Doubleblind gets off to a fantastic start with the full on rockfest of ‘Forest Nymph’. Glorious riffs meet the blues inflected vocals as they warm you up for the main course. The title track swiftly follows with its headbanging match and chorus that invites you to yell along. Crunchy riffs keep the proto-metal fever high as they take their limited palette and turn it into something quite exciting.
There are dull patches where the band seem to run out of ideas but given the style of music it is often difficult to keep the listener focused all the time. When they aim high they are fantastic though as on the slowburner ‘Harvest Queen’, the highlight of the album and a song which sets them on a pedestal when compared to many of their peers.
Most of all this album is fun and what more could you ask for. Skunk are not here to change the world, they simply want to party, and in these sad times we could all do with a little bit of that. Besides, who doesn’t miss those days of playing air guitar in the mirror whilst chonging on a bong. Get those battle jackets back out and let’s return to a more innocent time, of only for the forty or so minutes of this album. Bow down before the riff and relive your inner metal star. Return to the days when metal was metal.