This is a rather audacious title and the songs, in his first solo affair after leaving Iron Maiden, do it reasonable justice. Call it what you will, but this is not a recreation of Iron Maiden. From the first song, Cyclops, with the dark and noise-based overtones, it is evident that Dickinson is heading in a different direction with this effort. The songs are slower but are more listenable than some of Maiden's later efforts.
I was a bit apprehensive before listening to this disc, since I feared the direction Dickinson would take after Balls to Picasso (which I liked). This album is pretty much in the same vein, but the music is more focused and tighter than the previous recording. When Dickinson left Maiden, it was clear, from the live recordings, that he wasn't interested in wailing out the old classics as he did more than ten years ago. Now that he has left Maiden, he can do his own thing, and his own thing is pretty good. Besides featuring some stellar vocals and songwriting, part of the reason Skunkwords is really good is due to the band backing him. The guitar work in particular stands out, not because there's a lot of technical playing, but because there's a lot of interesting processing used, and that's the most unique thing about this release.
While Dickinson's voice has taken its toll over the years, he still can let out the operatic scream now and then. He also displays a side of his voice which we never got to see in Maiden and that makes for an interesting change. A couple of the songs sound like old Iron Maiden, especially Strange Death in Paradise. But the music here is darker and syncopated, but yet melodious. There's no doubt that the fresh blood has vitalised Dickinson's solo work. I think this is his best solo effort thus far, and this album is definitely worth checking out if you miss him with Iron Maiden.
This release represents an amazing change for Bruce Dickinson. In comparison to his past work, it was almost as though he was probing his way around in his previous two releases (which are quite good in their own right) to find that special sound. Now, reunited with former Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith, he has managed to do just that. The album features everything we know and love about these two musicians: crunchy riffs, operatic vocals, and enthusiasm that was present in Iron Maiden of the old. Listening to this release, it is clear that Dickinson and Smith really enjoy performing this material and that translates itself into some great music. There are some interesting industrial and progressive touches here, while keeping the NWOBHM sound intact. There are some amazing guitar solos as well. I recommend this highly for anyone who yearns for the old heavy metal sound, as well as for any metal lover.
Bruce Dickinson made the wise choice of keeping the same lineup as his last great solo effort, Accident of Birth. Each track on this album is a classic and the album is a fine followup to the last one, extending the musical discovery that Dickinson realised. The music is dominated primarily by Roy Z's and Adrian Smith's superlative guitar work, with a lot of heavy riffs and cool guitar solos. Dickinson's vocals are pretty decent, as is the drumming by Dave Ingraham and bass by Eddie Casillas, but the reason this album works is because the music comes together as a coherent whole. The production by Roy Z is excellent. The lyrics follow a loose conceptual thread: According to Dickinson, the lyrical basis for The Chemical Wedding "is largely grounded in the myths and occult science of Alchemy and the mystical poetry of William Blake whose artwork also forms the basis for the album cover." Yet another album showing heavy metal can still sound fresh and new in the 90s.