At some point in the future, a red morning will dawn. As your front door creaks open the bombs will begin to fall. Hurtling towards the earth faster than gravity’s constant the bombs will give scarce notice before exploding upon the rolling hillsides and urban metropolises. This will be armageddon. Unlike the judgment times foretold in the bible, these end time will be man made. All the evil, insolence, braggadocio and greed of mankind will be unleashed in one grand finale as man and beast alike are swept from the earth by their own devices. What will be left after the last bomb explodes will be a hellish landscape of wrought iron, jagged glass and craters as deep as the earth itself. If anyone survives they will likely be in need of a soundtrack for their final days of starvation and looting. Fortunately, Nord-Pas-de-Calais based death metal band Skelethal has provided such a hellish soundtrack on their long-awaited debut LP, Of the Depths...
The gorging brand of death metal marketed by Skelethal has long been in the works. Before Gui and Jon put notes to paper the history of death metal was surging forward towards this inevitable end. Foundation bands, as well as second-tier risk-takers, have pushed the limits of brutality, speed and riffs until they blew way past the comfort zone of death metal. Cutting through the bullshit like the Grim Reaper’s scythe through melted butter, they compose tunes that barrel straight towards the heart of death metal. Riffs upon riffs combine with guttural vocals, evil laughs and plenty of chaotic pacing to produce death metal that is comfortable and familiar while still absolutely brain-shattering.
“Chaotic Deviance” blasts forth ripping a hole in the ethereal plane with an brief but unsettling intro. The track is candid and genuine getting immediately to the heart of matters. Surging forward with the grit and determination of a cavalry bound for the enemy’s stronghold, “Chaotic Deviance” reveals a band not overly impressed with themselves (or maybe they are but how would I know because I don’t even know these guys. They just seem to not be that way). Two men content to pound out death metal in a near perfect style. Blistering drums, brief, spiraling solos and just enough twists and turns to keep a four-minute track entrancing.
It’s obviously redundant to point out that heavy metal is “heavy.” Equally redundant to say that death metal is about “death worship.” But the absolute heft of these compositions cannot be overstated. Like an anvil dropping from the sky to narrowly miss a roadrunner, Skelethal pours out 47 minutes of utterly crushing death metal. Short tracks like, “Catharsis” and “Soon to be Dead” are almost grind-like in their under two minute run-time. There’s no fancy lace, no dessert wine and certainly no cheese course. Merely two tracks that seek to annihilate all they come across as quickly as possible. Call it the Krav Maga of death metal.
Of the Depths… is foul (in the best way). It should remind you of squathouses, decaying basements with earthen floors and that rotten fruit you found in the dumpster behind the grocery store when your parents thought you were upstairs studying. And they don’t try to hide it. “Scaly Smelly Flesh” is a brutal, pulverising experience meant to inflict bodily harm. Skelethal simply has no “chill.” They are max intensity at all times. Like a death metal drill sergeant.
After five long years of making music, Skelethal finally have an LP to release. And, for the time being, the earth is a better place as a result. Sure, eventually the sun will blow up or, more likely, we will somehow bring about the extinction of our species as a result of jealous conflict and xenophobic rage. But, until then, and definitely after if you’re “fortunate” enough to survive, Of the Depths… will be a terrific soundtrack for whatever activities you decide to get into. From the lazy summer afternoon sipping cocktails poolside to the precious final moments when you’re desperately trying to fight off a crazed bear mutated and made grotesque by radiation. Whatever it is, Skelethal will be there for you like a vomit-caked pair of sweatpants that you’ve hung onto for sentimental reasons.
Album release date: 06/23/207