Beyond the Permafrost

So let’s say you like heavy metal/black/thrash/melodic death metal stylings of 3 Inches of Blood but the vocals of Jamie Hooper and Cam Pipes are just a little too much or maybe Destroy Destroy Destroy show a little too much ass as for you liking, then maybe Ohio’s Skeletonwitch will fit the bill.

Basically plying a very similar style of old vs. new metal as 3 Inches of Blood, Skeletonwitch basically use nothing but black shrieks and deep death metal growls as their vocal work, and focus a little more on the melodic death metal side of things, though there’s still a heavy sense of classic Maiden -ish heavy metal and thrash in the mix. In all it works, with some very cool moments, but the band still needs to fine tune their song writing to be considered in the same league as their Canadian peers. However, the potential is definitely there to do so.

In all, Beyond the Permafrost is a solid, enjoyable release. A few of the tracks are really good such as the galloping thrash of opener “Upon Black Wings” and “Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery”, the uber melodic “Baptized In Flames”, arpeggio filled “Sacrifice For the Slaughter”, blastingly harmonic (but too short) “Limb From Limb” and Maiden –esque closer “Within My Blood” as they feature a deft mix of upbeat riffs and raucous solos and vocalist Chance Garrett keeps things strictly in black and death realms with his shrieks and growls of battles, dragons, blood and all other things metal with not such much as a clean croon.

However, there’s some decidedly empty filler here also that makes segments of the album a bit more forgettable and empty (“Vengeance Will be Mine”, “Cast Into the Open Sea”, “Fire From the Sky”) and hold the album back from being truly great. Plus, there’s simply no “Deadly Sinners” like track that leaps out at you and says “PLAY ME AGAIN GODDAMMIT!!!!!”.

Still though, there’s a ton of potential here from a young band with only three years under their recording belt and with Prosthetic behind them, I look forward to hearing more form this promising US real ‘metal’ band.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 27th, 2007


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