By: Richard Maw
Album Type: EP
Date Released: 19/08/2016
Label: Prosthetic Records
“The Apothic Gloom”CD//DD//LP track listing:
1). The Aphotic Gloom
2). Well of Despair
3). Black Waters
4). Red Death, White Light
Skeletonwitch return with new vocalist Adam Clemans, following the rather ignominious departure of Chance Garnette. This tasty EP clocks in four tracks over its 20mins playing time; not far off the length of their last album! The EP finds the band in more measured mood; black metal riffing and blasts are present and more to the fore, frantic thrash riffing less so.
The titular opener is a sombre and rather epic affair- good production and many guitars layered over one another. The Skeletonwitch of 2016 is a rather more controlled beast. “Well of Despair” is similarly downbeat but with plenty of neck snapping thrash beats and that edge of blackened style to the riffing. There are some fantastic riffs on offer, so an excellent opening salvo, then.
“Black Waters” starts with some cracking riffage and maintains a kind of mid pace for the first minute, then blasts away. The band run through the gears convincingly, showing that they have lost none of their bite along with their front man. The mix is excellent, incidentally, and the bass runs really shine throughout. Nice solo to close it out in style as well.
The EP ends on the epic “Red Death, White Light”: over seven minutes in length. This track is unusual in Skeletonwitch's catalogue both for its length and atmosphere- which is both downcast and angry. Suffice it to say that this EP is a triumph and one that represents good value for money. I have liked all their records in the past. They are not reinventing the wheel and they are not going to push the intellectual boundaries of extreme music. Don't think too hard about it, it is metal. Indeed, some of the best metal you will hear this year.
‘The Aphotic Gloom’ is available here
RIYL: Goatwhore, Toxic Holocaust, 3 Inches of Blood, The Black Dahlia Murder