Newcastle Upon Tyne's very own Skyclad return with their thirteenth studio album Forward Into The Past which serves as the long awaited follow-up to 2009's In the... All Together. Forward Into The Past also marks the return of guitarist Dave Pugh to the Skyclad fold as a permanent member.
Since their inception, Skyclad have created songs out of a highly original and influential sound mixing heavy metal and traditional folk. Their lyrics have been generally permeated by political, social and environmental matters and the new album is no exception as vocalist Kevin Ridley comments: "The songs are about politics, the environment and the music business and so on. These are mixed with the standard Skyclad fayre of traditional bawdy/drinking type of songs and songs with blues and more ‘ethnic' feels."
Forward Into the Past's painted artwork by Duncan Storr (who previously drew paintings for Edge of Sanity, Rage and Hawkwind) displays the mesmerizing face of a man made out of trees and branches. Ridley elaborates: "The ‘green man' or ‘storyteller' image used here is a traditional image (from Roman times at least in the UK) which is usually taken as ‘showing the close interdependence between man and nature." That natural feel is also largely expressed in the album production which sounds, warm, natural and ‘real' (i.e. not processed or overproduced).