"Forever Abomination" (Prosthetic Records; 2011)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Ripping through 11 tracks of blackened thrash mayhem, Skeletonwitch presents their latest album "Forever Abomination."

Here, the band showcases a stream of razor sharp twin guitar crunch and blood-curdled shredding vocals leading to rousing choruses and dastardly solos (“Reduced to the Failure of Prayer”). Skeletonwitch keeps their metallic influences close at hand yet show their know-how when blending blistering black metal into a Swedish death metal jam (“Cleaver of Souls,” “Rejoice in Misery”) or putting a folksy spin on classic metal (“The Infernal Resurrection”), at the endless expense of drawing inspiration from Mercyful Fate’s refined catalog (“Of Ash and Torment”).

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"Beyond the Permafrost" (Prosthetic Records; 2007)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

Skeletonwitch was formed in 2003 in Athens, Ohio and they released a full length CD in 2004 and an EP last year. Its seems that more and more metal bands are reaching back to the speed metal gods of the mid to late 1980s for inspiration. 

To me the main sound here is German thrash with Destruction and Kreator being the most prominent influences. It’s a rather tight style thrash at the core with the vocals alternating between an older thrash style and the growling style that has become more popular over the last, say, fifteen years. What makes Skeletonwitch different from other bands who are just emulating old style thrash is that they have some more classic metal influences well. I can hear a little Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and maybe even some late 80s Helloween. 

The thing is that the classic parts are spread out and they and always in short bursts. Rather than being combined you have a separation of two somewhat different musical style. The majority of the songs being of this thrash style and then at some point a blast of solid style metal will blast out or the solo will be of that type. Then the song inevitably gets back to thrash. It was a little startling and unexpected at first as it felt like a split of genres rather than a blend. However, I have begun to enjoy it, mainly due to the fact that this band handles it with a lot of confidence and even a bit of flair. They are combining, rather than inventing, yet it is a new and different approach. 

Still, on "Beyond the Permafrost," Skeletonwitch seem to have the capabilities to make it work. It would be nice to see the intensity level raised a bit and there are times where it seems like the pace is controlling the band rather than vice versa but, all in all , “Beyond the permafrost” is a solid release that at least partially pulls off a fresh approach.

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"Beyond the Permafrost" (Prosthetic Records; 2007)

Reviewed by Spudbeast

Spewing blackened-to-a-crisp speed metal, Skeletonwitch's sophomore album, "Beyond the Permafrost," is a contemporary extreme metal staple. Melodic and unrelentingly fast throughout, the album opens up with "Upon Wings of Black" and, within the first five seconds, it's clear that this is going to be an album for the ages.

Absolutely tight musicianship and sheer talent are showcased on this first song and the trend continues throughout, with amazing, venomous riffs, especially on the title track "Beyond the Permafrost" and "Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery."

The production is impeccable, with the amazing riffs supported by a very solid rhythm section, especially the drummer who does a perfect job keeping the pace of the album fast and deadly.

Throughout the album, the black metal influence is quite evident, especially with tracks like "Limb from Limb" and 'Baptized in Flame." Half Dark Tranquility and half Toxic Holocaust, Skeletonwitch does not disappoint. A must have for extreme metal fans.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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