Sunday 17 November 2013

SKELETONWITCH - Serpents Unleashed - Album Reivew

Serpents Unleashed cover art

Skeletonwitch is a Thrash Metal band from Athens, Ohio, USA

The members are

Chance Garnette- Vocals
Nate "N8 Feet Under" Garnette- Guitar
Scott "Scunty D" Hedrick- Guitar
Evan "Loosh" Linger- Bass
Dustin Boltjes- Drums

Thrash will always be one the most pivotal genres of music, in my humble opinion. Without it, we would have no Big Four: and without those, most modern metal would not exist at all. So when I hear that thrash ragers Skeletonwitch are releasing a brand new album, I veritably jumped at the chance to get my sludge-imbued hands on it.

Serpents Unleashed’ is the fifth full-length album from the Athens, Ohio five-piece and follows on from 2011’s ‘Forever Abomination’ with eleven more tracks of pure thrash filth and fury. If you came looking for the aural equivalent of a hurricane dropping on your house, you have most certainly found it. Plus the uber-bearded frontman Chance Garnette sounds like the war cry of a Viking beserker. A particularly angry Viking beserker at that, too.

Take the title track, for a fine example. Being the first song on the album, it comes out of the speakers raging, fists swinging and teeth sharpened and ready to bite. It’s also the shortest song on the album too, bursting through from explosive beginning to mauling conclusion in a little over two minutes. Naturally, these thrash sabretooths aren’t ones for balladry: album closer ‘More Cruel Than Weak’ clocks in at nearly four and a half minutes long, and that fine offering is the closest Skeletonwitch will ever get to a mellow track. Indeed, its first minute is rather delicate: Nate "N8 Feet Under" Garnette’s and Scott "Scunty D" Hedrick’s guitar interplay giving way to distortion, heavy drums and Chance’s terrifying shriekwork. By the time this runaway mine cart of a track has reached its crushing end, no speaker is left unmolested by ‘More Cruel Than Weak’’s battering sonic display.

Now I’ve dealt with either side of the album, what about the main body of songs? Well, if ‘Serpents Unleashed’ (the song itself) is the starter and ‘More Cruel Than Weak’ is the dessert, consider everything in between a buffet of thrash proportions. Don’t worry about watching your figure: these tracks are low in calories, high in metal fibre, so feel free to gorge yourself. A particular treat of mine, I found, is ‘Blade On The Flesh, Blood On My Hands’, which satisfies everyone’s cravings for fast-paced, slamming guitars and charging, ground-shattering drums. Also, if you’re looking for that satisfying morsel, I suggest ‘Born of the Light That Does Not Shine’, a two-minute (and a bit) slice of the leanest, tastiest thrash from the other side of the Pond. Take one bite, and it will blow your mind.

Thrash’s flag is still flying proudly, and Skeleonwitch is a worthy band to carry that banner high for all the metal crowds to see. I can see that this most vital of genres is being kept vital and alive thanks to amazing bands such as this: to all you out there, get bitten by the Serpents Unleashed! 

Written by Chris Markwell

Thanks to Kelly at Prosthetic Records for sending us a promo to review. Much appreciated. Serpents Unleashed is available to buy from all good stockists now.

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