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Album Reviews : Skintilla – King of Kings

By on October 22, 2009

skinlargeDespite having been around for 12 years, Adelaide’s Skintilla have only had one full length album, ‘Kranker’ from back in 2001. This year, after signing with Riot! Entertainment, the band are back with their second, ‘King of Kings’. While Black Majesty, Vanishing Point and many of Australia’s other major power metal acts follow a more European trend, ‘King of Kings’ is one of the most traditional sounding heavy metal albums forged here in recent times with similarities that are sometimes scarily close to Iced Earth or Tim ‘Ripper’ Owen’s solo and Beyond Fear material.

In fact both musically and vocally, several tracks (“No Trespass” in particular) sound so close to Ripper material you would swear there was some track stealing happening. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is largely dependent on whether you’re one of those “I don’t care whether it sounds like another band, it just means more great music” people, or you’re in the “It just sounds like a rip-off of another band” group. Although, in this particular case, the fact that Skintilla’s material is actually more varied, more interesting, catchier, and generally more enjoyable than any of Rippers is likely to come into play too.

Vocalist Darren Pretty is fantastic and really makes some of these songs. There might not be a whole lot of variety with his vocals, but you can’t fault his delivery. Musically this is nothing special. You’ll pick the influences in the various parts quite quickly and there are definitely no surprises. But, at the same time, the band sound fired up and really on the ball which makes a huge difference. Without energy, this sort of heavy metal can be the most boring genre on earth. Not the issue here. It has the sort of energy you usually only get from live shows. That one factor makes a huge difference, even in somewhat repetitive parts of the album. Unfortunately the drums and bass are too low in the mix at times which hinders that energy a bit at times, but it’s true for most of the album.

If you’re a heavy metal fan, get this album. If you’re a Ripper fan, get this album. If you’re looking for something a tad more original, something with its own sound, then perhaps look elsewhere. 7/10

Band: Skintilla
Album: King of Kings
Year: 2009
Genre: Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Origin: SA, Australia
Label: Riot! Entertainment

Track listing:
1. Sword for Sword
2. King of Kings
3. Scarlet Eyes
4. No Trespass
5. Fall from Grace
6. DNA <- Reviewers choice
7. Insomnia
8. Pole Dancer
9. Witness
10. Dragon’s Blood


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.