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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Stewart, Kenny - 2012 Skullthuggery
Stewart, Kenny - 2012 Skullthuggery

ARTIST: Stewart, Kenny
ALBUM: Skullthuggery
LABEL: Big Spin Records
YEAR: 2012
SPONSOR: Kenny Stewart


LINEUP: Kenny Stewart - vocals, guitars, programming * Johnny Fraser-Binnie - lead guitars, keyboards, programming * Fingerthumbs - bass, backing vocals * Chas Kennison - drums, programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Demolition Man * 02 The Daze Of Our Lives * 03 All Hell Broke Loose * 04 20 Vision * 05 White Man Speak With Forked Tongue * 06 You're Enemy Is My Best Friend * 07 In Smithereens * 08 The Truth Is What You Say It Is * 09 R.T.F.M * 10 If I Could * 11 Shout It Out (House On Fire) * 12 Leperized



A couple of years back, we took a look at ex Dirty Tricks main-man Kenny Stewart's 2010 album 'The Brains Behind The Scam'. I described it as a mild but rampant version of Motorhead, and on that CD Kenny played everything. For his new 2012 album 'Skullthuggery', he's joined by a few friends; including Dirty Tricks and Rogue Male buddy Johnny Fraser-Binnie and a real drummer in Chas Kennison.. the results less rabid but no less intense. If you can imagine a 21st century sounding Budgie with the aforementioned Motorhead for the pre-requisite 'dirt', then you've got Stewart down to a tee. The songs are still big sounding, riff-oriented and studio bound, as some of the effects filter through. Thankfully Kenny has cut down on the quantity from the last album, now down to twelve tracks.

The Songs
'Demolition Man' gets us off to a great start. Listen to those bucket drums and uptempo speed for maximum impact. You could be forgiven for hearing Metallica's 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' filtering through on 'The Daze Of Our Lives' (great songtitle huh?). I'm enjoying this so far, and we're only two tracks in. 'All Hell Broke Loose' describes this song perfectly. Fiery, with guitars powering up this song as if they were six-string Energizer batteries! The flangers are on red alert for '20 Vision', winding and twisting through the four and a half minute run-time. 'White Man Speak With Forked Tongue' is the power-ballad moment on the album, a title that sits appropriately among the past and current injustices of the world. That much is true. We're back to the mad-dash and big-bash style that we heard on the opener with this sixth track 'Your Enemy Is My Best Friend', I really enjoyed the way this one turned out, quite melodic actually amidst all the six-string bluster. 'In Smithereens' sounds a wee bit muffled, but the aggression and blatant hard rock is there for all to see. There's more bucket drums and heaviness churned out on the tongue twister 'The Truth Is What You Say It Is', even Mutt Lange would be impressed with the drum mix on this one! The tempo is picked up on 'RTFM', the acronym meaning 'read the fucking manual' as we all know. 'If I Could' is the second of the ballads on the CD, it provides a welcome contrast, as the album was bordering on being slightly repetitive, so good on Kenny for a change-up moment. There's a delayed build-up for 'Shout It Out (House On Fire)', the song a full-on rocker with some grinding guitar work all around. The closer 'Leperized' is another with a delayed reaction before the melodic contagion sets in.

In Summary
Without doubt, 'Skullthuggery' is an improvement on its predecessor. I enjoyed the 'big' sounding production, bountiful drums, sizzling guitars and aggression. The fact that there is extra participation other than Kenny provides a fuller sound with multiple input. 'Skullthuggery' is unashamedly hard rock bordering on metal, melodic enough to interest the readers here, while guitar buffs might just enjoy what's on offer. You can find this on CD Baby, or there are some links through to Kenny's MySpace site. Go discover.

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#1 | tompa on September 03 2012 22:56:57
Fair review. Like its predecessor this album holds so many great ideas of both the melodic and aggressive kind. And best of all; Kenny's unique and special voice is in as good shape as it ever was.
I don't find that much of interest in today's hardrock but this is a must-have. Greatest moments; Truth Is What You Say It Is, Shout It Out and Your Enemy Is My Best Friend.
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