Skinflint – “Chief Of The Ghosts” (Pure Steel)
Metal from Botswana! Well, if you didn’t know there was such a thing as African Metal then Skinflint would definitely say otherwise on this 5th album. Playing traditional heavy metal rooted very much in Sabbath and Maiden along with some stoner , the lyrics take very much from African mythology – quite an exotic combination that has even attracted the attention of the BBC, who produced a documentary on them and the Botswana metal scene! Definitely a name with a loyal following in their native country, Skinflint have also played in South Africa and Kenya, although this year they made it to Europe to support Tarja Turunen. Founded by guitarist / vocalist Giuseppe Sbrana in 2006, the trio, completed by Kebonye Nkoloso on bass and recently returned original drummer Alessandra Sbrana, are indeed very tight but intelligently stick to British meat n potatoes metal while hinting at African rhythms in their music, so perhaps this album might be a treading board to go further in that direction? Vocally, Sbrana is quite different so don’t be expecting any Ozzy wails, Dickinson highs or the grace of Dio but ironically a more modern gruffer black / death style – although somehow it all works brilliantly on songs like ‘Rainbow Snakes’ with an intro reminiscent of Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’ while on ‘Milk Fever’ it’s epic, warrior metal meeting some seriously tripped out 60s soloing! As for the closing title track, it’s nothing short of a doom epic with dirty droning guitars and Nkoloso’s heavy, twanging bass starting off slow and heavy before Alessandra really kicks off with the drums amid husband Giuseppe cackling insanely along with his wild, far out soloing. Definitely offering a quality product with the real potential to go much further in another boundary breaking move as Sepultura did in incorporating their own cultural roots, Skinflint are mustering the might of an entire continent in forging their destiny.