Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination
Well, I’m kind of slow when it comes to CD releases from bands that don’t spam my Facebook page every day for six months in advance, so I was about five months late getting my grubby little hands on the latest thrashterpiece from Ohio’s Skeletonwitch. I’ll admit that thrash and speed metal are my personal favorite genres, and I love albums that throw as many riffs as possible at you, and Forever Abomination is certainly no slouch. If you’ve never heard of Skeletonwitch, they can best be summed up as to thrash metal what Children of Bodom are to power metal (that is, they take everything good about the music of the genre, put black metal vocals on top, and then crank up the “insanity” knob to 11).
“This Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill)” opens the album with an acoustic (?!) intro and mid-tempo (?!?!) riffing, but fears are be alleviated with a speedy thrash break before going back to the main themes. That said, any thoughts about Skeletonwitch going soft are quickly put aside as “Reduced To The Failure Of Prayer” (their song titles are almost as awesome as the songs themselves) brings us back to the full-on breakneck speed thrash assault we all know and love. Other than the opener and “Cleaver Of Souls,” every song clocks in under 3 minutes. But even with only 11 tracks, you’re getting your money’s worth as Skeletonwitch crams 75 minutes of whiplash-inducing fury into 32 minutes. Headbanging to this album will send other people to the chiropractor.
“(Insert any other song here)” is totally awesome thrash riffage at metronome-warping speed with great leads and awesome black metal-esque vocals that makes anything on Reign In Blood sound like Opeth. If you’re looking for brooding doom introspection or prog epics, please turn away, and if you’re a wimp, poser, elderly, under the age of 12, pregnant, or any medical condition from which spontaneous headbanging would result in the disassociation of your head and shoulders, please put this album down before you become a “John Doe” on a class-action lawsuit.
“Rejoice In Misery,” “Shredding Sacred Flesh,” and “Cleaver Of Souls” get my best-of-the-best nominations and manage to stand out among the best stuff from the previous three Skeletonwitch albums. “Cleaver Of Souls” is about the closest this album comes to actually getting mellow, but still shreds (the nod to Black Sabbath at the end is quite awesome indeed). “Shredding Sacred Flesh” might just be the fastest riffing here, but the highlight is the Megadeth-influenced riffing from the mid point through the end of the song.
The production is, unlike anything associated with anything remotely related to black metal, sharp and crisp, and you can hear every little nuance in the guitars, feel the drums pound, and, if you have a lyric sheet, understand what the hell vocalist Chance Garnette is actually saying. The solos are your typical thrash solos, where speed is everything, but unlike Slayer, the solos are brief and awesome, without sounding like a cat being dragged through a fan during a hurricane in an echo-prone cave.
You’re in for one hell of a ride with Forever Abomination. So get up off your feet, don’t look so obsolete, and thrash like an ath-uh-lete!
Kylie’s Rating 4.25 out of 5