Forever Abomination finds Athens, Ohio's Skeletonwitch casting their most powerful spell yet. Lean and mean, it pairs relentless aggression with fiendish accessibility. The end result is enchanting, and through dark magic Skeletonwitch has crafted their most caustic, catchy record yet.
It also shows that Skeletonwitch's sound unearths bones both ancient and modern within the heavy metal genre. The band boasts 1970s guitar chops, 1980s speed, 1990s atmosphere and post-millennial production slamming their style home. It's a potent brew, and one whose myriad ingredients are united solely by speed.
Make no mistake – Forever Abomination is a fast album. Ripping through 11 songs in half an hour, it also displays dizzying variety along the way. "This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)" offers the perfect example, starting with a sinister acoustic guitar melody before exploding into bleak, plodding metal and marauding thrash choruses.
After that, Forever Abomination stays full-throttle until the bitter end. "Reduced to the Failure of Prayer," for example, lobs crushing riffs like hand grenades while machine gun melodies provide cover fire. "Of Ash and Torment" is equally blistering, blasting through fiery harmonies and speedy percussion like they're going out of style.
"Choke upon Betrayal," meanwhile, sacrifices subtlety on the altar of cutting guitar chords and skull-rattling drums. Up next is "Erased and Forgotten," a thrash anthem stuffed with raw brutality and speed-picked harmonies.
After this, "The Infernal Resurrection" injects introspection into the mix with a main riff that's as grim as it is gripping. It also makes the following onslaught more meaningful. Just as a sense of melancholy's established, Skeletonwitch shoves it off the precipice with a brutal thrash beatdown.
"Rejoice in Misery," for its part, sticks with this template of savagery interspersed with epic fretwork. In contrast, "Cleaver of Souls" lets a bass solo slow the tempo before blitzkrieging its way into a chilling final passage among the album's best.
The final trio of songs brings back the firestorm. "Shredding Sacred Flesh" kicks up a sonic whirlwind, while "Sink Beneath Insanity" set up pulverizing blastbeats and gigantic riffs with stark melodies. "My Skin of Deceit" finishes the CD with similar fury, leaving listeners breathless after one final assault.
Skeletonwitch have captured heavy metal's spirit with Forever Abomination. It pays the genre loving tribute with music as ferocious as it is fun. For all the headbangers out there, it should provide ample skull-rattling. For everyone else, it's an excellent introduction to all things loud and proud.
This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)
Reduced to the Failure of Prayer
Of Ash and Torment
Choke upon Betrayal
Erased and Forgotten
The Infernal Resurrection
Rejoice in Misery
Cleaver of Souls
Shredding Sacred Flesh
Sink Beneath Insanity
My Skin of Deceit
Check 'em out at www.myspace.com/skeletonwitch
Mark Hensch is the editor of Thrashpit. You can also read more of Mark's work in Heavy Metal Hensch at the Washington Times Communities. When not writing for the Communities, Mark serves as a digital editor for the Times' Times247.com.