Skeletal Remains
Condemned to Misery

One could argue that the 2015 debut album from super group  Gruesome, Savage Lands, is the current pinnacle of early Death worship, to the point where they actually almost recreated actual songs from Scream, Bloody Gore, Leprosy and Spiritual Healing. But also tucked away in 2015 was the second effort from California’s Skeletal Remains, who proved with their 2012 debut Beyond the Flesh, that they also are master of old school retro Death metal.

While the early Death influence is certainly strong, the band also heavily recalls Morgoth and early Pestilence, mostly due to Chris Monroy, who nails a Marc Grewe and Martin van Drunen wail and howl, and in part to a more primal, raw approach. Sure, there are some clever nods to Schuldiner’s work (i.e. the neat solo in “Euphoric Bloodfeast”) but the overall tone is dirtier and thrasher, and less cerebral that Death’s mid era/latter work.

Unlike Gruesome’s Savage Land and even the band’s debut, Condemned to Misery does not rely completely on blatant, clear cut comparisons to their peers’ songs (though the aforementioned “Euphoric Bloodfeast” comes really close to “Spiritual Healing”), and make you play ‘name that tune’, but rather develop tier own songs with a clear  and obvious influence in mind. To these ears, the production seems to be a little more raw and analog than the debut, further cementing the old school vibe, which is also then aided by some classic 90s keyboards here and there (“…Still Suffering”).

That all said, while a kickass old school death metal album from start to finish, there’s no ‘wow’ moments or truly memorable riffs or songs that make my blood curdle and command that I hit play again and again. The two tracks I already mentioned and ‘Ethereal Illusion” come close, but still I’m feeling that Condemned to Misery no more than a solid album of  well done, musty old school death metal and might actually even be s slight step back from the debut.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 11th, 2016


  1. Commented by: peeny

    Obituary worship on those vocals.

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