Already a well-established live act, Dark Punk/Metal hybrid act Skeleton from Austin, Texas have now captured their sound in a studio album, a self titled, eleven track, twenty seven minute chunk of savage yet well thought out mayhem.
This release for me is an utterly intriguing one that left me initially a little lost for words and it’s rare that happens, especially when it’s one I enjoy as much as I have with this release, it’s an amazing listen that manages to totally blur the boundaries between the genres completely, as well as the boundaries of time, in as much as the attitude is old school but the concept forward thinking, I’ve heard a bands mix Black and Punk but never quite like this. Vocally it has the raw sound of angry young Norwegians from the 80’s/ 90’s ( Norway having produced some great Punk bands as well as the better known Black Metal ones), with lyrics that are delivered with clarity and determination and they’ve kept the production low-fi and raw which adds to the sound greatly. Much of the guitar sound for me had a very Norwegian feel also, with slight thrashy hints dropped as well.
The overall atmosphere is dark and driving and listening to this album was as much of a nostalgic trip as it was a new revelation especially “T.O.A.D.” with its classic driving Black Metal riffing over tortuous distant screams.
It’s an end to end exhilarating and engaging listen from the superb opener, the dark and driving “Skeleton” with a groovy addictive repeat, blackened style drum work all the way to the closer “Catacombs” with its reflective intro breaking into driving blackened riffs permeated with tortuous vocal screams dropping away before one final blackened assault on your senses.
In between there are so many high points it’s hard to list an there are definitely no low points; “Mark Of Death” and “At War” both awash with d-beats and dirty riffs, “The Sword” with its haunting dark opener and driving blackened riffing, the dark plodding but punchy quality of “Ring Of Fire“, the hard melody of “Taste Of Blood” which is engaging without losing punch, the short reflective dirty instrumental interlude “Victory”, precursor to the dark and punchy “A Far Away Land” and “Turned To Stone” where I love the opening riff, it’s punchy and suspenseful, returning in the second half after building rapidly to utter blackened mayhem and culminating squealing lead burst.
“Skeleton” is available on 20 Buck Spin via Soulfood and should have massive appeal to fans of bands like Bathory, Discharge, Anti-cimex, Amebix or G.I.S.M. a fascinating album from a band who would go down equally as well at a Punk event as well as any Black Metal event, demonstrating just how close the two genres are, here at least.
Rating – 5/5