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Based in Newcastle, England, the progressive thrash metal band Skyclad was founded in 1990 by vocalist Martin Walkyier, who left his previous band, Sabbat, after an argument with guitarist Andy Sneap. Walkyier added two former members of Pariah -- guitarist Steve Ramsey and bassist Graeme English -- as well as second guitarist Dave Pugh and drummer Keith Baxter. The band signed to Germany's Noise International label and recorded Wayward Sons of Mother Earth for a 1991 release. After touring with Overkill and adding violinist/keyboardist Fritha Jenkins, Skyclad recorded A Burnt Offering for the Bone Idol in 1992 and Jonah's Ark the following year. Continuing their release of an album each year through the mid-'90s, the group issued Prince of the Poverty Line in 1994, with Cath Howell replacing Jenkins. Howell was in turn replaced by Georgina Biddle for 1995's The Silent Whales of Lunar Sea, after which Baxter and Pugh left the group. Irrational Anthems and Oui Avant-Garde a Chance followed in 1996, both with studio drummers, and both later reissued by Century Media; The Answer Machine continued the band's prolific recording schedule in 1997. Permanent replacements for Pugh and Baxter finally signed on in 1998 in the person of drummer Jay Graham and guitarist Keith Ridley, who debuted on 1999's Vintage Whine. The punningly titled Folkemon appeared in Europe in 2000 and the U.S. in early 2001, marking the band's first offering for Nuclear Blast. It would also be the last Skyclad outing for founder Walkyier, who left the group shortly after its release. 2004's A Semblance of Normality saw the band going heavier and more experimental. It also featured appearances from fourteen members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The 2006 EP Jig-a-Jig preceded the release of the group's next full-length outing, 2009's aptly named In the... All Together, which eschewed the guest-heavy roster of past offerings for a stripped-down, bandmembers only approach. Forward Into the Past, the band's 13th studio long player, was issued in April 2017 via Listenable Records.
© John Bush /TiVo


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