Perhaps at no time in America's history has the open expression of ideas and feelings been so imperative to the well being of the individual and, collectively, the world. Expression is so often inhibited or outright restricted by the dominant culture that most feel as though they don't have a voice that matters or that can affect anything of any consequence. Furthermore, there are precariously few vehicles of expression for those daring enough to present anything extraordinary or remotely contrary to popular culture.
It is in light of this reality that Skinlab offer their fight songs in support of the voiceless: reVoltingRoom. The culmination of three years worth of writing, recording and touring, reVoltingRoom is not only Skinlab's heaviest record, but also their most mature and focused offering yet.
Shortly after their formation in 1995, Skinlab recorded Bound, Gagged And Blindfolded, an album Terrorizer magazine described as "one of the most crushing debuts." Bound, Gagged And Blindfolded took the metal world by storm, beaming with a sound that was described by some as a dark, ominous hybrid of Machine Head and Neurosis, but with a style and intensity that transcended comparison. The Eyesore EP followed shortly thereafter, featuring the songwriting debuts of new guitarists Snake (formerly of Skrew) and Scott Sergeant, who were welcome additions after the departure of original guitarists Mike Roberts and Gary Wendt.
In 1999, Skinlab and producer Andy Sneap returned to the studio to record Disembody: The New Flesh. The album established Skinlab as a bludgeoning unit, as intelligent as they were sonically heavy - a band only beginning to discover their collective creativity. Pummeling rhythms, crafty passages and arrangements, and an overall droning aura lead listeners from one sonic dimension to the next.
Shortly before the band entered the studio to record reVoltingRoom, Sergeant departed the band and was quickly replaced by Glen Telford, formerly of Los Angeles' Wired Shut. The new line-up cemented and stronger than ever, Skinlab hit Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco and Trident Studios in Oakland with producer Steve Evetts (Sepultura, Hatebreed, Snapcase). A few months later, longtime associate Andy Sneap (Machine Head, Napalm Death, Earth Crisis) mixed the album, to create what Esquivel describes as "the most important record of our lives."
One of the genre's true road warriors, Skinlab has toured alongside some of the most respected metal bands, past or present, including Coal Chamber, Machine Head, Kittie, (hed)p.e., and Earth Crisis.
Through years of touring and releasing records, Skinlab have been on a quest to express themselves through music, which in turn has established a forum through which the band can communicate with kids across the world. While music, in theory, serves as an apparatus to open a dialogue, Skinlab sought to make this dialogue more tangible, so they opened "the reVolting Hotline," a toll-free number through which callers could express themselves. All forms of expression were encouraged: rants, raves, spells, diatribes, jeremiads, social commentary, curses and invocations of Armageddon. Skinlab selected their favorite screams, whispers, joyous releases of exaltation, and heart-wrenching cries of futility and discontent to be included as audio tracks on reVoltingRoom.
It goes without saying that the revolution of expression doesn't begin or end with a band or an album. Expression comes in many shapes, from the political to the personal, on levels both micro- and macro-, and in all forms of media from written, to spoken, to painted and beyond. reVoltingRoom is merely the collective sonic expression of a single quartet, but it is the primary application of the principles the album so vociferously promotes. The revolution must start sometime, somewhere and somehow.
Open your eyes, ears and mouth - Let the revolution begin.