Some things in life are unchanging. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The swallows will return to Capistrano. And Skeletonwitch will put out an album every other year after touring like mad men to support the previous album. Since their 2007 debut on the Prosthetic roster you could set your calendars to this band. Every odd year we are blessed with another slab of highly potent blackened/death/thrash from Ohio’s metal masters. It’s 2013 my friends and after roughly two years that saw them traverse across North America and Europe pretty much non-stop, Skeletonwitch are once again back with an album full of the metal goods.
Maybe it’s because they are constantly on the road, but there has to be a reason as to why every Skelotonwitch album contains the fury and the passion of the live setting. There is never anything sterile on a Skeletonwitch album, and their newest release, Serpents Unleashed, is no different. This record is as vicious as their earliest recordings, filled with the timeless mix of thrash, death and early black metal fans have come to rely on. It’s like listening to a rabid animal caught in a snare and trying to gnaw its own paw off to survive. The fact that Skeletonwitch was ever able to find the sweet spots of three of the most beloved genres of metal and combine them into something tangible is a feat in and of itself, but for them to continually go back to the well and draw more successful recordings out of it is simply amazing.
That’s not to say there is anything formulaic going on here. On the contrary, tracks like “Beneath Dead Leaves”, where the blackened intro steadily morphs into the melodic death metal soloing at the end, are perfect examples of how this band has taken what works for them and continued to expand on it. There are fist-pumping, old-school styled, metal anthems like “I Am Of Death (Hell Has Arrived)”. There’s a track like “Unending Ever Living” which begins with an epic, almost doom like intro, before diving feet-first into the deep end of the thrash metal gene pool. There’s so many different influences present here, yet all neatly categorized like a savant with a secret way to organize his massive album collection. It’s focused chaos, unleashed on the listener like eleven axe-wielding madmen, and it’s an album worth owning for sure.
Serpents Unleashed will hit the streets in North America via Prosthetic Records on October 29. In the meantime, to get you ready, check out the video they did for the track “I Am Of Death (Hell Has Arrived)”