SKAM – Peacemaker


Review by Ian Savage

Off Yer Rocka Recordings

Release date: 28 July 2014

Midlands Rocks’ collective ear was first bent in SKAM‘s direction by a storming set at the Bulldog Bash a couple of years ago. Since then they’ve been tirelessly assaulting the walls of the big-time, an unrelenting gigging schedule allying to their infectious showmanship to give them a deserved position amongst the UK’s foremost underground rock bands.

Peacemaker is the band’s second album in their five-year servitude, and from a laid-back finger-picked intro it lays into one of the crunchiest opening tracks of the year in the form of ‘Make You Pay’, double-time snare drum driving along a bare-bones rhythm track supporting frontman Steve’s wide-ranging vocals. It appears that (double-tracked guitar solos aside) SKAM have kept largely to their power-trio ideal for Peacemaker, which translates the intricate instrumental interplay of their live shows into a punchy, visceral full-lengther.

In terms of musical content, it’s largely a winner – the predominant driving riff-based tracks on offer (‘Holy City’, ‘Fortune Favours The Brave’, ) sit comfortably amidst lower-tempo stompers and more expansive tunes like ‘The Wire’ and ‘Precious Stone’ to give a nicely nuanced snapshot of the Leicester three-piece’s place in 2014.

The album isn’t entirely without fault: as it closes in on the finish line ‘In The Zone”s faintly tired three-chord structure and the drawn-out riffery of closer ‘More Or Less’  straddle the relatively cliched ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ (almost certainly stifled on record by a click track, and despite that almost certain to be a total crowd-pleaser live), closing with more of a whimper than yell.

For a sophomore studio opus from a proven live outfit, though, Peacemaker is a definite step up the rock ‘n’ roll ladder. As they gain the audience and start playing the venues to better suit their increasingly outward-looking style, SKAM can surely only build from here – it’s a long way to the top, but these boys are making real good headway.

SKAM – Peacemaker8 out of 10

Track listing: 

  1. Langundo
  2. Make You Pay
  3. Rivers
  4. Holy City
  5. Peacemaker
  6. The Wire
  7. Fortune Favours The Brave
  8. The Prince
  9. Precious Stone
  10. In The Zone
  11. Let’s Get Rocked
  12. More Or Less