This is a review of "The Dance of Death" recorded by The Scaramanga Six. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2007.
If there was a TV cop show set in Medieval England featuring a glam rocker and a punk, transported back in time from the 70's, where their only way to get back home was to solve the unspeakable crimes of the time... this album would be the soundtrack... and you’d bloody love it... especially the episode where they invent the guitar and teach the locals how to gob on the crowd. Cabin Fever, the Six’s last outing, punched you in the face from the off, it splattered your knackers (if you have them) all over the room with a hefty boot. To get to the point, it was hard to forget and any follow up has high standards to live up to. Knowing this The Scaramanga Six serve up a distinctly more accessible vibe on The Dance of Death with tracks like the string laden pounding-prog-romp “Baggage”, the glam-grit of “I Wear My Heart On My Sleeve” or the camped up rocker “Helvetica”. From pace changing opener “The Throning Room” the scene is set for a monster of an album with songs evolving as they leap around the room shedding skins of rock as they smash up your stuff. “Vesuvius” was a song written with one intention in mind, to give Steve Morricone the perfect live vehicle to impose his stage persona on the audience, being as it is about his bubbling undercurrent of rage. “Sunken Eyes” finds the band on a rarer more meaningful note tackling the not so trivial subject of domestic violence, “Hide the bruises on your arm” scream the vocals halfway through and the band rip into yet another rock tangent before showing off with a seamless quick switch to some lounge jazz... the clever bastards.
Throughout, the sense of rock opera is never far away and leaves the listener desperately searching for some sort of narrative. The narrative if any is of course the band's unique perspective on life with a penchant for the theatrical, just witness the inlay photos of band members posing with birds of prey. Tim Smith (Cardiacs) once again takes control of production duties and pays a perfect compliment to the Six’s expanse of sound. Drum driving closer “The Throning Room” menaces its way to the cliffhanger ending of series one of Good Sir Knight of Rock, will they make it home? One thing is for certain, you’ll be tuning in to find out.