Music review: Skeletonwitch's 'Forever Abomination'

Skeletonwitch keeps their wicked new album short but sweet. Photo: Prosthetic Records

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2012 “Forever Abominationfinds Athens Ohio’s Skeletonwitch casting their most powerful spell yet. Lean and mean, their latest CD pairs relentless aggression with fiendish accessibility. The end result is surprisingly enchanting. Through their dark magic, Skeletonwitch has crafted their most caustic, catchy album yet.

This recording also shows that Skeletonwitch’s sound unearths bones both ancient and modern within the heavy metal genre. The band boasts 1970s guitar chops, 1980s speed, 1990s atmosphere and post-millennial production values, all of which combine to slam their multifaceted style home. It’s a potent brew indeed, and one whose myriad ingredients are unified solely by speed.

Make no mistake “Forever Abomination” is one fast album. Ripping through eleven songs in half an hour, it also displays dizzying variety along the way. “This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)” offers the perfect example, starting with a sinister acoustic guitar melody before exploding into bleak, plodding metal and marauding thrash choruses.

Skeletonwitch (Photo: Prosthetic Records)

Skeletonwitch (Photo: Prosthetic Records)

After that, “Forever Abominationstays full-throttle until the bitter end. “Reduced to the Failure of Prayer,” for example, lobs crushing riffs like hand grenades while machine gun melodies provide cover fire. “Of Ash and Torment” is equally blistering, blasting through fiery harmonies and speedy percussion like they’re going out of style.

“Choke upon Betrayal,” meanwhile, sacrifices subtlety on the altar of cutting guitar chords and earthshaking drums. Up next is “Erased and Forgotten,” a thrash anthem stuffed with raw brutality and speed-picked harmonies.

After this, “The Infernal Resurrection” injects introspection into the mix with a main riff that’s as grim as it is gripping. It also makes the following onslaught more meaningful. Just as a sense of melancholy is established, Skeletonwitch shoves it off the precipice with a brutal thrash beatdown.

“Rejoice in Misery,” for its part, sticks with this template of savagery interspersed with epic fretwork. In contrast, “Cleaver of Souls” lets a bass solo slow the tempo before blitzkrieging its way into a chilling final passage among the album’s best.

Skeletonwitch&squot;s "Forever Abomination"

Skeletonwitch’s “Forever Abomination”

The final trio of songs brings back the firestorm. “Shredding Sacred Flesh” kicks up a sonic whirlwind, while “Sink Beneath Insanity” sets up pulverizing blastbeats and gigantic riffs with stark melodies. “My Skin of Deceit” finishes the CD with similar fury, leaving listeners breathless after one final assault.

Skeletonwitch has captured heavy metal’s spirit with “Forever Abomination.” The album pays the genre loving tribute with music as ferocious as it is fun. For all you headbangers out there, it should provide ample skull rattling. For everyone else, it’s an excellent introduction to all things loud and proud.

Tracklisting

“This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)”

“Reduced to the Failure of Prayer”

“Of Ash and Torment”

“Choke upon Betrayal”

“Erased and Forgotten”

“The Infernal Resurrection”

“Rejoice in Misery”

“Cleaver of Souls”

“Shredding Sacred Flesh”

“Sink Beneath Insanity”

“My Skin of Deceit”

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Website

Read more of Mark’s work in Heavy Metal Hensch at the Washington Times Communities. When not writing for the Communities, Mark serves as a digital editor for the Times’ Times247.com.


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Mark Hensch

Mark Hensch is a heavy metal fanatic who has been scribing about the genre since 2003.  A Grand Rapids, Mich. metalhead, Mark also writes for www.thrashpit.com while serving as its editor.  He maintains a recurring column there called "Hensch's Hometown Heroes" which spotlights unsigned heavy metal bands.  He apologizes for any subsequent ear bleeds readers incur while checking out his music blog. He also writes about restaurants and mixed martial arts for the "Washington Times" in addition to extreme music.

 

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