Skeletonwitch - _Beyond the Permafrost_
(Prosthetic Records, 2007)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (
With a moniker like Skeletonwitch, it should be readily apparent that this Ohio quintet has a penchant for the old school; this is a fact, but rather than attacking the genre from a stoner or retro-thrash foundation, Skeletonwitch ply their trade all over the board while still managing to achieve a heavy dose of consistency.Chance Garnett's throaty rasp is probably the least distinguishable aspect of the band's sound, but it's at least somewhat forgivable given the fairly utilitarian manner he employs it amidst the quality of catchy thrash riffs and the controlled, mid-tempo rhythmic backbone. The guitar tandem of Nat Garnett and Scott Hedrick do the lion's share of the work in making Skeletonwitch soar, with the complementary solos on tracks such as "Vengeance Will Be Mine" and "Within My Blood", but the rhythm section of bassist Eric Harris and Derrick Nau provide able-bodied accompaniment.The band conjure not melodic death so much as simply a bouillabaisse of thrash and traditional elements underlying proto-death vocals with a modern (read: clean) production. Death metal elements weave in and out, but the primary focus seems to be on recapturing the heyday of mid-'80s metal by forging a unified sonic template of all the various sub-genres extant at the time, all the while without forgetting the '90s bands that built upon those influences. With two full-lengths and an EP under their belt, Skeletonwitch are doing a highly respectable job of keeping the beer soaked old school banner waving high.
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