Skeletal Remains
Beyond the Flesh/ Condemned to Misery/ Desolate Isolation (Reissues)

California’s Skeletal Remains burst onto the scene extremely quickly with a debut album in 2012, one year removed after releasing a demo that same year.  So for about 10 years they have remained one of my favorite death metal bands and all their releases are of high quality.

I feel their fourth album, released last year, The Entombment of Chaos is still their finest release.  But they had to start somewhere, right??  And yes the band has had some lineup challenges over the years and around the 2014 timeline I thought the band was going to fold.  But nevertheless, they persevered and that’s all due to guitarist/vocalist – Chris Monroy.  Skeletal Remains embodies the sheer essence of classic/brutal death metal by combining the likes of Asphyx/Pestilence/Death/Brutality.  Some of the best death metal bands of all time.  So with the ongoing Pandemic, Skeletal Remains and their label had a meeting of the minds to do some reissues.  The debut album Beyond the Flesh from 2012, the follow-up in 2015 – Condemned to Misery and Desolate Isolation (comp) combines their 2011 demo, live songs and some cover songs.

The first two Skeletal Remains albums were released on Germany’s F.D.A. Records record label.  Once I saw their logo on the debut album it was a no-brainer purchase.  One of the few albums in the last 10 years I purchased without ever hearing a song from them.  I felt the label’s description of them along with the cover containing mummified corpses was all that I needed to see in order for me to just click purchase.  8 songs in 33 minutes.  “Extirpated Vitality” has always been quite the opening song, really transporting the listener back to 1990.  Awesome double bass with the mid-paced opening.  You would think the opening would start faster, but the mid-paced moment morphs into faster moments with Mr. Monroy sounding very similar to Martin Van Drunen, and personal favorite death metal singer.  Monroy sounds so spot on it’s quite scary.  When I first heard them, I initially thought Van Drunen was their singer..  He throws in some excellent growls too.  “Traumatic Existence” is classic to a T with the opening gallop and the band’s debut does not sound like a debut album at all – sounds like a seasoned veteran’s.  This reissue contains their 2011 demo as well as a scorching rendition of “Disincarnated”, from Gorguts.  Excellent bonus content and what’s more the updated remaster increases the punch up volume and makes an already powerful debut sound even more full-throttle in your face, punishing.

Condemned to Misery was a great follow-up with excellent songwriting and musicianship.  8 songs in 36 minutes and “Beyond Cremation” opened the album, once again, not with a fast song, but mid-paced and some Disincarnate influence for sure.  The band speeds things up and never afraid to toss in a blast beat, the songs gets into some vicious blasts and then a little polyrhythmic guitar riffing before doing a classic slow down.  “Viral Hemorrhagic Pyrexia” was another great song, featuring great drum rolls/cymbal hits and ferocious growls.  The bonus features are four live songs from their 2016 trip to Tokyo.  The sound quality is quite impressive.  The remaster really helps Condemned to Misery.  The original production was always a little thin and was lacking in a full sound, unlike their debut album.  The remaster fixes that, as the songs are punchier and made me enjoy the album even more.

Desolate Isolation – Demo & Live has never been released before and sports a fantastic album cover.  I smell a longsleeve in my future with this design.  This release is also in celebration of their demo 10 year anniversary.  It’s a bit of a mixed bag.  Ok, so it’s got a great cover, but it also contains the bonus songs from the other two reissues, except for a few other keepers. “Evocation” (Asphyx cover), is quite honestly thunderously heavy AF.  “Planetary Genocide”, a Decibel flex-disc exclusive song from a few years ago makes an appearance.  Never heard the song, it rules, as well as  “Crippled Sanity”-this may be a new song, or a reworked never released tune.  Regardless – check out that middle part…the rhythm section is one of the best in all of death metal.

Get these reissues – c’mon.  You get upgraded sound on all three releases, excellent album covers, bonus content up the whaaazooo.  Skeletal Remains is high-quality death metal with musicianship that even blows away bands that have been around for decades longer.  I missed them at MDF a few years ago, because I only had a ticket for one of the days.  My brother-in-law, “The Creator of the Brill Building” said they ruled and so did everyone else, from what I heard.  Support one of the finest death metal bands, now!


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
July 6th, 2021


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