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Strong First Impression - 90%

promethian_death, February 16th, 2010

Athens, Ohio’s Skeletonwitch is melodic thrash metal with dark thematic elements heralding the oncoming firestorm that will assault your ears as it permeates the air. They are reminiscent of the early eighties thrash scene that birthed the likes of Anthrax, Slayer, Exodus and the European monsters of rock, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. As the tracks progress, you become more deeply immersed into a cold dark place, expressed best by the disk’s title track Beyond the Permafrost, and then taken right back out and thrown into the fiery pits of hell; a sonic shock to the system. Oh yeah, and lead singer Chance Garnette has a very unique vocal style, switching between death and black metal vocals like it was the most natural thing in the world to him. Adding another unique trait to the band’s sound.

The first track, “Upon Wings of Black”, is a representative power punch to the album’s overall feel. While the entire album isn’t entirely fast paced - The guys somewhat slow it down a little bit with the track “Baptized in Flames” - at least at first - building up to the full power intensity found throughout the album. They then pick it back up to the almost breakneck pace of the rest of the album with “Sacrifice to the Slaughtergod”, with no reprieve from the intense pace for the remainder of the album.

“Fire from the Sky”, “Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery”, and “Remains of the Defeated” seem to create a small story of domination, destruction and the aftermath. Okay. Maybe it’s the dark, evil streak that runs a mile wide down my back, but I think these are the best songs on the disk. I love the imagery of angels being incinerated and God and the Holy Ghost being systematically destroyed. Satanic hymns to get the little old church ladies into a tizzy. I would love this trio of songs to be whipped out over the intercom in the middle of a church service just to see how people reacted. It would be a beautiful blasphemy.

These Buckeyes then go on to close the album with lyrics like, “When the moon is gone and the son is dead,” painting a bleak, apocalyptic picture. The final track and the album ends with the line, “Evil demons now control my life,” a hopefully tell-tale sign of things to come on their next album, Breathing the Fire, which looks to be bringing back the companion character with their music, harking back to Megadeath’s Vic, or Iron Maiden’s Eddie. I hope so! Those guys were fun, and had the Joe Camel effect on me when I was young - it drew me in and made me buy!

by Kesh Butler, contributor from Metal Psalter Webzine
http://www.metalpsalter.com

Orginal Article:
http://www.metalpsalter.com/review_skeletonwitch_beyond_the_permafrost.html