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Skelator - Death to All Nations - 80%

Jessie117, September 29th, 2012

Close your eyes and pretend you’re back in the 1980s (or if you’re young like me, just take a guess based on what you’ve seen on TV and in movies.) A decade when bands like Metallica and Judas Priest ruled, instead of today’s pop clones. This, I expect, is what Skelator did when writing “Death to All Nations,” their sophomore album which could easily have come straight out of the ‘80s. Shredding guitar solos and headbanging choruses abound here, and the band’s sound bears more than a passing resemblance to metal giants Iron Maiden (the singer sounds like Bruce Dickinson with a cold; not great, but it works in the context of the music.)

The riffs and vocal melodies are extremely catchy, even as they sing about epic battles, swords, glory…”For Death and Glory” references the Lord of the Rings trilogy, while in the standout track “Circle of Bloodshed,” an unexpectedly doomy intro leads into a fist-pumping anthem about Vikings killing, pillaging, and generally wreaking havoc in the name of Odin. Simply put, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this band opening for Amon Amarth, although some of the lines in “The Truth” could have been borrowed from a gospel song. (“The truth…the truth is in my soul! Though I face my death, I will not yield!”)

Overall, while the Skelator’s sound is very good and doesn’t get boring before the end of the album, the band is as raw and spirited as an ‘80s hard rock group; but they don’t seem quite mature enough to be taken seriously as an epic metal band. On the rare occasion that they set aside the glorious conquests and sing about something slightly more mundane – such as on the rocking anthem “Stand Up (For Rock and Roll),” dedicated to the late Ronnie James Dio – their youthful sound and energy is perfect for the music. This album could have been an instant hit 30 years ago; in this day and age, it’s still excellent.


(Originally published in Destructive Music Webzine: http://destructive-music.com/?p=1490)