SKAM – Venous / Intra (2021) *0dayrox Exclusive*
Since formed more than a decade ago, Leicester, UK classic hard rockers SKAM have matured and established quite a following there and elsewhere, having a reputation for fun, energetic live shows.
As many bands in the business, this year SKAM decided to release 2 separate EPs rather than a full studio album. This approach means the band were able to spread out their releases over a year rather than in one hit.
After the success of the band’s last release, the 6-track ”Intra” appeared in March which stormed up the UK rock chart to #6, SKAM are back in the saddle with their second EP release this year.
”Venous” is a 6 track EP that follows on where ‘Intra’ left off. We are featuring both here, and really works greatly as kickin’, rocking full length.
Skam deserve shouting from the rooftops (and yes I know the last two – including this one – have crashed into the charts), but even their record company undersells them in my view.
This is from the official biography on Golden Robot Records site: “Formed in 2010, SKAM are a hard rock power trio band from the middle of England. They have a reputation for delivering no nonsense, gutsy, classic sounding British rock music.”
That makes them sound like a functional right back in a Championship football team, that makes them like a 6/10 every week – and quite honestly Skam are better than that these days.
Listen to the confidence that gushes through on “Circles”. This is a band that is at the top of their game. The riffs are better, the drums heavier, the grooves thicker and the hooks sharper.
They have always been well balanced, but now they are thunderous. Lyrics shot through with a real anger, too. “Fade Out” is perhaps the best single song they have, but everything here means business.
This is something I always say when reviewing their stuff, I know but I am going to say it again: If an American band had done “I’m Not The Only One” then they are on the front of magazines, as it is a band from Leicester we are a little more reticent somehow. We shouldn’t be. There’s nothing bashful about this. It’s simply superb.
In contrast to “Intra” there’s a ballad on “Venous” – and that’s cool, as if you view them as a complete work (and by the way, joined together they’d be one of the albums of the year) then there would be a slow one for texture.
Skam seem better they are letting it go, as on “I Didn’t Know”, the bit where the solo kicks in, that’s the band. That’s what they are brilliant at.
You hear bands all the time and you write things like “they are destined for arenas” – let’s be honest, they aren’t, most of the time – but its hard to listen to “The Cure” and not wonder if in another time and another place it might have happened for Skam.
Musings aside, there’s one hard, cold fact here and its this: Skam belong right at the very top. It’s in their blood.
The songs from ”Intra’ are equally good. There’s just a sense of enjoyment over “Green Eyes” and a real feeling that they’ve burst out of the blocks with it. Maybe its because I haven’t seen a band live for over a year but I found myself picturing the chord kicking in as they emerged onto a stage.
If that’s a wake up call, as it were, then the chunky groove of “Wake Up” is built on the bass of Matt Gilmore and its noticeable here that they sound just a little heavier than before. “How Many Times” has a harder edge – but also gets rock n’ roll bonus points for its heavy cowbell use as Neal Hill seems to enjoy himself.
On the fabulous “One Track Mind” we find the the talents of Paul Mahon of The Answer (an old friend of the group) who lets rip here on his solo. There’s a defiant and belligerent “Fight The Fire”, another which rather underlines that this is a band that has discovered the joy of writing hooks so big you could hang your coat on them, frankly.
Special mention too, to the other Hill, who tosses out riffs with something approaching abandon here. “On The Run” has a slashing one, a song where guitar work kills.
This is Skam’s best work (and their other stuff is ace, too by the way) a classic hard rock band not so well known a they truly deserve.
We are here to encourage you to listen to Skam, one of the best classic rock bands out there.
Only at 0dayrox
01 – Circles
02 – Fade Out
03 – I’m Not the Only One
04 – Deadliest Sin
05 – I Didn’t Know
06 – The Cure
07 – Green Eyes
08 – Wake Up
09 – One Track Mind
10 – How Many Times
11 – Fight the Fire
12 – On the Run
Steve Hill – Guitars, Lead Vox
Matt Gilmore – Bass, Backing Vox
Neal Hill – Drums, Backing Vox