If Italy has one thing on the rest of the planet that is… well, to be honest with you, it’s probably pizza. Power metal is totally next in line though. It may not have originated there, but ever since the late ‘90s Italian power metal bands have put their spin on the genre to redefine it. Ever since, Italy has stood in the foreground of power metal and its outliers, what with bands like Rhapsody (of various fires and the like) and Labÿrinth defining their brands within power metal. To that end, Skeletoon aren’t at any rate the most celebrated. They aren’t the most distinguished, or the most groundbreaking. But cranking out an album a year lately, none can call them lazy. On a mission to spread happy metal since 2011, the five piece has sat idly for exactly zero minutes during the pandemic, and at mid October dropped their fifth full length The 1.21 Gigawatts Club upon us.
And yes, they are coming at us after such successes, which makes the slight downward shift on The 1.21 Gigawatts Club that much more noticeable. By no means a bad album, it still doesn’t really capture the magic of the previous two releases. They Never Say Die (2019) put on record the exact delightful campiness that permeated the movie it was based on, while Nemesis (2020) took all things campy and brought it to space. The 1.21 Gigawatts Club is based on all time classic Back to the Future from the screaming ‘80s, and to an extent its sequels, but it has more or less the feels of a standard power metal album. As is entirely expected, the album cracks open with a massive tour de force, as the intro and Holding On blasts off at 88 miles per hour, or something like it. Tomi Fooler gives a more subdued performance in the verses, highlighting the massive chorus and the uplifting melodic guitars.
The musicianship being exactly what you could expect; Fooler taking the helm, high notes aplenty in the big choruses. Meanwhile the frenzied guitars blazing big melodic leads and crispy riffing from Andrea Cappellari and Davide Piletto come straight out of the Helloween playbook. It comes together in some tight songwriting that’s both catchy and sticking true to the formula and source material. Mid album ballad Enchant Me would be overly sappy if it weren’t for the fact that it so cheesily captures the school dance scene from the movie, even lending a line or two from the song played in it – so for some reason, cheesy as it is, it just manages to fit the theme. If anything, the biggest “drop” isn’t in that the material is any weaker than previous, just the overall feeling isn’t quite as energetic and powerful. Really, The 1.21 Gigawatts Club does hit those sweet power metal highs everyone is looking for, but at the same time it feels like they’re not pulling the entire weight, like that spark isn’t quite ignited. And it feels like they’ve tried to be a little less extra. But Skeletoon kinda need to be extra.
Standout tracks: Holding On, Enchant Me, We Don't Need Roads (The Great Scott Madness)