SKINNER - The Dark Design
Bay Area veteran vocalist, Norman Skinner released his new second full-length album The Dark Design on March 31, 2023. The album was independently released on Norman Skinner's private label Dead Inside Records via his website https://www.normanskinner.net/. The Dark Design was mixed and mastered by Zach Ohren (Castle Ultimate Productions). The album art was done by Michael Ailarov.
Norman Skinner comments on the album, "This album has been a long labor of love for me. Started initially back in 2015 I began working with various musicians to craft the 1st few songs and continued to work on the album in the background when not busy working on all the other projects. I took my sweet time, but I feel it paid off as this album is killer! I’ve already given fans a taste by releasing three singles “In Silence”, How Many Ways I Can Die” & “Wicked Whys” this year. I will say before the album’s release date, everyone can expect 1 final single & video to be released."
The band Skinner originated back in 2010 as the defunct Power Thrash Band Imagika fell apart. The band released a five-song EP, Enemy Within in 2011 and their first full-length album in 2014 titled Sleepwalkers. In 2015, members of Skinner left the band leaving Normal Skinner to continue Skinner as a solo band. Since then, "The Metal Chamaleon" has released singles in subsequent years while also being active in his other bands, Hellscream, Niviane, and Imagika.
The Dark Design
Norman Skinner's vision for this album mixes in his favorite elements of heavy music, melody, and the inclusion of keys to bring epic and atmospheric elements to his music. Musical styles range from Power Metal, Symphonic Metal, Heavy Metal, Prog, and Melodic Heavy Metal. The album has a runtime of sixty-four minutes across 13 songs.
"What's Left Inside" opens The Dark Design with a melodic key intro leading straight into a Nu-Metal guitar riff (think Killswitch Engage). Norman's vocals range from a powerful grown to a melodic yet sincere melody. "In Silence" has a similar feel to the structure of the music with the mix of heaviness and melodies yet the chorus and hook take on a ballad-like feel. Each song has its own feel with deep dynamics that do not feel repetitive or stale. Zach Ohren's post-production is well done and balanced on this album
Lyrical themes include manipulation ("Wicked Whys"), the regret of a life wasted ("In Silence"), and the regret of an ended relationship on what could have been ("Unfinished").
The Dark Design is an album that will grow on you over time as each listen provides the listener with new revelations within the music. As the name of the album implies, there are many deep and dark thoughts that will dig deep into one's soul if one chooses to allow themselves to be fully immersed in the world of Skinner's word crafting.
- What's Left Inside
- In Silence
- The Haunting Hours
- A Sea of Melancholy
- The Ferryman
- How Many Ways Can I Die
- My Tribulation
- Among The Ashes
- Wicked Whys
- The Dark Design
- Seven angels (Bonus Track)
Norman Skinner - Vocals
Abel III - Guitars
Jim Pegram - Bass
Aaron Robitsch - Keyboards
Joe Luna - Drums
Contributing Artists / Musicians:
Aaron Robitsch (Niviane, Graveshadow)
Noe Luna (ex-Niviane),
Jim Pegram (Short Fuse, ex-Imagika)
Abel III (No Silence, ex-Lioncourt)
Jaymie Robertson (The Watchers, The Venting Machine)
Jeremy Von Epp (The Watchers, The Venting Machine)
Rick Stallkamp (ex-Niviane)
Official Website - https://www.normanskinner.net/
Linked In- https://www.linkedin.com/in/norman-l-skinner-iii-39911aa/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/NormanLSkinner3
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/nlskinner3/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/skinnermetal
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXZtUzKIBNQa3Zunlzlb3yg
Label: Dead Inside Records (Self-released)
Release date: March 31, 2023
Score 7.2 out of 10
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