Skeletal Remains
Beyond the Flesh

So while a majority of the retro death metal resurgence has focused on the Stockholm sounds, reviving the classic tones of Entombed, Dismember, Grave and such (and there’s nothing wrong with that), what if you had a hankering for a nostalgic death metal sound that wasn’t from Sweden? What if you were craving a band that was more rooted in the rotten hues of early Death, early Pestilence,  early Morgoth and Cancer‘s first 2 albums? if only there were such a band…. oh look, California’s Skeletal Remains!!!!

Skeletal Remains is a few notes away from being a classic 90s death metal cover band as all of their songs and overall sound cull heavily from Leprosy, Consuming Impulse, Resurrection Absurd and Death Shall Rise (I really thought “Reconstructive Surgery” was initially a cover of Cancer‘s “Back from the Dead”). But there is an honesty and focus that makes Beyond the Flesh utterly enjoyable, especially for a death metal fossil like me, and the fact it’s doing the nostalgic death metal thing with a different lean makes it even better.

Everything on Beyond the Flesh is so retro, I can almost smell the white, high top sneakers. The vocals of Chris Monroy are pure Grewe/Van Drunen howl, the bass has a steady, audible ‘boing’ to it,  the guitars are early 90s analog with a crisp (the guitar tone actually reminded me of classic 90s US act Brutality) but dusty tone and the drums have a simple Bill Andrews steadiness that understands the drums are to keep a beat, not be be full of flashy fills and shit. And like I said, while the  each of the 8 songs are a few chord progressions away from simply being cover songs, you can’t beat this sort of nostalgic delivery as Skeletal Remains utterly NAIL this sound to the point where they sound like an unearthed Dutch band from 1990, not a group of Californians 20 years later. That’s a testament to two things; Skeletal Remains ability to really hone in on the classic sound without sounding contrived, and of course, the timelessness of the source material.

With song titles like “Traumatic Existence”, “Desolated Isolation” and “Extirpated Vitality”, even the songs titles are dug up from 1990.  And speaking of covers, rather than the obvious Death or Pestilence cover (which still would have been awesome) the band still close out the killer little album with a different 90s classic with a cover of Gorgut‘s “Disincarnated” from the bands 1991 debut Considered Dead, a time when Gorguts themselves were a simple Death clone and it puts a perfect end note on an album that shows there’s more to death metal nostalgia than plugging in a HM -2 pedal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 12th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Luke

    Thanks for steering me onto this one Erik, really digging the samples and that killer old-school sound. Might just have to purchase.

  2. Commented by: Brad

    Someone needs to review their newest, Condemned to Misery. Great album.

  3. Commented by: Zach

    The new Skeletal Remains is fuckin STELLAR Death Metal!! Somebody needs to review it.

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