A prophecy from Jonah’s Ark?

Growing up, people would often ask me why I listened to metal—wasn’t it filled with evil lyrics and violence? No, not all of it.

Listening to metal exposed me at an influential age to a wide range of views and opinions, many of which touched me. Megadeth sang about the pain of losing someone close to you (“In My Darkest Hour”), Testament sang about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre (“Seven Days in May”). But consistently Martin Walkyier-era Skyclad sang about the urgent need to look after the earth.

I know that it was easy for some of my Christian friends to dismiss Skyclad out of hand because they marketed themselves as a pagan folk metal band. But I always felt that they spoke about the earth and nature with such love and respect that it influenced how I thought and treated this remarkable rock on which we live, spinning around our nearest star. Perhaps not enough, though.

During one of the hottest weeks I’ve ever known in Scotland, I was in the car the other day – I know! but the supermarket is too far away to walk to, especially with my poor health – listening to Skyclad’s 1993 album, Jonah’s Ark when the song “Tunnel visionaries” started.

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Day 19: A song from your favourite album #30dsc

30 day song challenge day 19: A song from your favourite album

Skyclad—The Sky Beneath My Feet

This song is taken from one of my all-time favourite albums The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth by Skyclad the UK band that former Sabbat vocalist Martin Walkyier and Pariah guitarist Steve Ramsey formed in 1990 after Walkyier left Sabbat.

The band brought together thrash metal with folk music. Walkyier and Ramsey’s goal was to form the ‘ultimate pagan metal band’. Skyclad were the first band since I started listening to rock and metal music that made me sit up and go “wow!”

It was heavy, it was melodic, it was quiet, it was loud, it was progressive, and the lyrics made you think. This was intelligent metal at its best. I still love the album.