COUNTRY: United Kingdom
Skyclad are a British heavy metal band with heavy folk influences in their music. They are considered one of the pioneers of folk metal genre. The etymology behind the term "skyclad" comes from a pagan/wiccan term for ritual nudity, in which rituals are performed with the participants metaphorically clad only by the sky, as a sign of equality. The name alludes both to the band's religious leanings and to their social beliefs, as set out in the song "Skyclad" on their first album.
The band was founded in 1990 by then former Sabbat vocalist Martin Walkyier and Satan/Pariah guitarist Steve Ramsey, after Walkyier left Sabbat due to musical differences. The two's aim was to put together the 'ultimate pagan metal band'. Rounding out the group with another ex-member of Pariah, bassist Graeme English, as well as drummer Keith Baxter, they penned a deal with German record label Noise International and recorded and released 'The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth' in 1991. A while later they added Fritha Jenkins on violin and keyboard and a second guitarist in the shape of Baxter's friend Dave Pugh, allowing for a more folk-based sound on their follow-up release ‘A Burnt Offering for the Bone Idol’ in 1992. The group's early output was followed by ‘Jonah's Ark’ in 1993. In 1994 the band released ‘Prince of the Poverty Line’ which is considered a benchmark album in folk metal. In 1995 the album ‘The Silent Whales of Lunar Sea’ which saw them support Black Sabbath on their ‘Forbidden’ UK tour in 1995.
Skyclad parted ways with Noise records in 1995 and vocalist Martin Walkyier left the band a few years later but they still continue to this day and have released a further eight, subsequent albums between 1996 and 2017 and tour the UK and Europe on a regular basis.