I’ve always been in two minds over whether Tim Skold is actually any good or not. He’s had his moments – some of his production work has been good (indeed his work with Marilyn Manson on The Golden Age of Grotesque resulted in MM’s best album in years), but then much of his work with KMFDM was hardly during their finest period, and I really don’t care at all for his glam stuff or Shotgun Messiah.
So amid continuing work with some a few lesser-known lights, or his own side-projects, Skold is back with his first solo work in some years, and the press releases would suggest that this is one of the most keenly-awaited comebacks of the year. Hmm.
Not for some time has a new release been so aptly titled, though, as this really does fucking suck. This is effectively KMFDM without the wit, tunes or programming prowess, suggesting that it’s clear exactly where all the good stuff in SKOLD vs KMFDM came from last year.
It’s lazy, lowest-common denominator stuff, kinda an industrial-rock version of the glam metal scene that Skold came from in the first place, and the lyrics just ram this home even more – the chorus goes “Down on your knees / Suck My Rock!“. Is this the best lyrics that he can come up with for the chorus? Jesus fucking christ. It might be that it’s actually an allegory for being fucked over by record labels, but you know what? I really couldn’t care less to listen in any more detail, as I’ve already listened to this song more times than I now need to.
The listens of which included the various remixes included here. 16Volt tone down the industrial swing-beats of the original, which has the unfortunate effect of making the godawful lyrics even more audible in the mix, while Front Line Assembly interestingly slow it down to a lengthy, ambient crawl, which would be lovely if it wasn’t for the vocals. Not sure if it really needed to last for nearly seven minutes, though.
Combichrist phone in a dancefloor remix that basically strips out the guitars and doesn’t do a lot else, while I’ve no idea who Bitteren Ende are (and I can’t find a link for them anywhere), but their remix at least tries to do something very different to the others. A dubby, slow-paced electronic undercurrent replaces everything but the vocals, and it builds nicely to a climax at least.
The additional tracks tacked on – all apparently released online a few months back and used on TV shows – don’t actually make things any better. I Will Not Forget is “hard rock” that has discovered a limited electronic programming ability (you remember the rush of bands like MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e to try and keep up with the times on albums like Generation Swine? ’nuff said), while Dark Star and Bullets Ricochet is the sound of Skold trying to be Marilyn Manson. Badly.
Industrial music is full of artists who make a living from aping the ideas of others, rather than forging their own path – and SKOLD is a perfect example of this. Each artist can do what they like, of course, but I personally will always give more respect to those that actually provide some smidgen of originality, and indeed quality. This release provides neither of those, in fact is indescribably derivative and actually gains the accolade of being the weakest release I’ve come across yet in 2011. I’ll be avoiding the forthcoming album, needless to say, on this evidence.
[Note: This review may sound harsh, but I’ve always believed in calling reviews as I see them. I receive a proportion of releases on promo, and I purchase many more. This website is proudly independent, and my reviews are just that. These are therefore my opinions and mine only – it is taken as a given that my readers have the intelligence to make their own decisions.]