Only the Ruthless Remain

I don’t have much patience with geeker-provenance or hero worship. I was pleased as punch to hear Carcass and Godflesh put out fantastic, true to form records after being away for a while, but for the most part I agree with Death Grips: “Fuck where you’re from, fuck where you’re going, it’s all about where you’re at.” It’s great you and your friends got it together for another record and all, but is the record good?

Skinless has been around for a long while – 20 years…and so the fuck what? What Skinless has done is they have put out a good record. A really good record. An ugly, untamed, give-a-fuck death metal record that just fucking IS. It pummels, it grooves, it slops, and it blasts. It sounds organic, unpretentious and all around fitting of the genre. It is not trying to recapture anything, nor is it trying to rekindle anything. It is five motherfuckers out to make death metal now; today; right this fucking second. And make it they certainly do.

Skinless has always been a death metalists’ death metal band, and there is not much one can say about their music that provides a reader any better indication of the value of the record than that this is really good, no bullshit death metal. Which is to say there is no grand design or epic thematic exploration here. There are riffs, runs and stomping grooves. Lightning leads, throaty roars and the occasional spine-raking screams. Some of the record’s brightest…?…moments come when the band slams home a grinding changeup, as in the epidermis-peeling namesake track “Skinless”, or the chaotic-to-gut-punching “Serpenticide”. After setting you up with blazing/chunky alternating riffs, the band drags you across the pavement at an agonizing pace with chains made of heavy goddamned metal. These ugly, slow, pace-breakers just fucking kill, reminding one exactly how effective they can be when used with fury and skill. Skinless aren’t kids doing what they think they are supposed to do to be like their heroes. These are men who are doing what they need to because this is motherfucking death metal.

As I listen I keep thinking, musically, this is the type of album Slayer ought to have released after Seasons in the Abyss. It has that post-Reign riffing and sensibility, but with plenty of death grumble and blast beats. It gives the record a timeless, familiar feel that should really appeal to the old-school fanatics. But, again, this is not mired in nostalgia so much as very loyal to the basement. You can almost taste the mold and concrete dust. This is the sound of late nights, tepid sweating beers, and caroming off concrete walls in angry little spaces, lit by single naked bulbs.

This is the sound of death metal. It is alive, vile, vital, evil and glorious in its depravity. Whether or not you are already a fan of Skinless, if you are a fan of death metal, you should grab this.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Sessions
June 2nd, 2015


  1. Commented by: Chris

    What an awesome write up!

  2. Commented by: ov3rm4n

    Fuck yeah. Great review, great video, another fantastic Skinless album.

  3. Commented by: Luke_22

    Need to check this out. Nice work Chris, good to have you on board at TOTD. Always enjoyed your writing back in the Metal Review days.

  4. Commented by: Dan

    Call me crazy but I still think ‘Trample the Weak…’ is their best.

  5. Commented by: Chris


    You’re crazy.

    Here at TOTD we are all about customer service.

    Unless it means I have to do something other than type.

  6. Commented by: E. Thomas

    No Love for “From Sacrifice to Survival?” I thinks thats my favorite. This new one rips though

  7. Commented by: Chris

    Love for the whole catalog. But review for this one album.

  8. Commented by: Kevin E.

    “Sacrifice” was good, slightly techy. But I like the absolute pummeling of “Trample”. Busted that out a few weeks ago and still floored by its heft. Blows the doors off this new one.

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