Without question Skeletonwitch were one of the best things to come out of the thrash renaissance. Though never truly a thrash band, they successfully rode the hellcart to prominence with a blend of thrash, black metal funnelled through an 80’s NWOBHM lens, delivering killer slabs of vehemence with ‘Beyond The Permafrost‘ and the blistering 2009 release ‘Breathing The Fire‘.
‘Forever Abomination’, their fourth studio album in all, does little to change that original blueprint, despite the acoustically tinged opener ‘This Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill), which draws you in as all classic opening metal salvos go before going in with a full scale assault. After closing with more acousticality, normality is restored with the solo heavy ‘Reduced to the Failure of Prayer’, which somehow reminds me of that cracking solo section in Megadeth’s ‘Hangar 18’. Tracks like ‘Choke Upon Betrayal’ and ‘Cleaver of Souls’ are filled with hooks, style changes and more, vocalist Chance Garnette scowling tomes of violence and desecration sounding more evil than ever. Perhaps this is down to producer Matt Hyde, who has worked with big names like Slayer and Hatebreed in the past. One thing is for sure, the band have upped their game considerably and even ‘Breathing The Fire‘ is left in the pale.
Everything forthwith is Skeletonwitch – faces melted first, questions never asked. The album again breezes through its eleven tracks in ferocious, boisterous fashion and its all over in 35 minutes, following kill after kill after kill. Many of the tracks don’t even surpass the three-minute barrier but damn they’re effective.
Perhaps the only criticism that you can level at Skeletonwitch is that such an approach means they don’t yet have a stand out anthem, more just an exercise in headbanging and invisible oranges high in the sky. By the same token, the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke…’ springs to mind and if there’s anyone worth sacrificing your vertebrae for, who damn better than Skeletonwitch to offer it to?