Label: Change Everything Records
Release Date: June 3, 2012
It’s been seven years since Tommy Skeoch parted ways with Tesla and since that time he’s been a dark tempest of self-destruction. Last year he returned with his second solo effort, “Brand of Metal“, his follow-up to 2007’s “Freak Bucket“. The difference this time around is Tommy is clean and sober. Still broken, bent and angry, he channels that fuel into his new record, baring his soul and bloodying his knuckles.
Tommy offers on “Brand of Metal“, the elements he brought to Tesla. Where fellow guitarist Frank Hannon was the band’s bluesy psychedelic funshine, Skoech brought the caliginous rough metal edginess. Something that was sorely missing on Tesla’s 2008 release, “Forever More“.
Those hopeful of a heavier version of Tesla will be disappointed with “Brand of Metal” because that was not the goal of the record. What fans will hear is plenty of incredible riffage and fretwork overlaid by the punk angst and murky depths of Skeoch’s psyche.
What began as noodling around with cover songs soon turned into a garage band like project that took on a life of its own. Skeoch plays guitar, bass and sings (such as it is), and tapped a friend to lay down the drums.
Skeoch will be the first to tell you he is no singer, but what he brings here vocally is that punk edginess of say Black Flag, even The Misfits. This rawness is further entrenched in the simple production that feels, at times, almost like a garage band demo. The contrast comes from the fluid guitar work that sets the foundation for the album.
Skeoch is a huge fan of punk and hardcore and those influences permeate the album, but a nod to The Beatles, intentional or otherwise, can be heard on “Something Wrong”. Then there is the Alice Cooper vibe of “Soul Fucker”, and the Exodus riffage of “Quarter to 3”.
His twisted humor is peppered throughout the record, but stands out most on the opening track, “FSDSRRMF” which drawn out stands for, “Fucking, sucking, drinking, smoking, rocking, rolling, mother fucker”. The song is backed by a classic NWOBHM riff. The rumbling bass line works perfectly.
The album’s final track “At World’s End” is the album’s longest track at eight minutes, and takes aim lyrically, it seems, at what we’ve done to our nation, our world.
Several of the tracks on “Brand of Metal” could easily have been Tesla songs with Keith on vocals and Hannon to balance Skeoch out, but alas we can only wonder, what if?
“Brand of Metal” is the sonic kitchen sink rattling around in Skeoch’s brainpan of influences. His nebulous attitudes and bad boy magnetism permeate the record. “Brand of Metal” shows a progression from “Freak Bucket” and offers a glimpse of what could be in store for Skeoch’s third album.
The bottom line is one has to throw out misconceptions and enjoy the album for what it is rather than what one thought it might be.