Skeletonwitch are a relatively well known metal act that formed ten years ago in Ohio. During the band’s existence, they have enjoyed some accomplishments: opening for the legendary Danzig, earning spots on Ozzfest, and even being featured on the Billboard 200 charts. Their sound is best described as an ear catching mix of black metal infused with punk and thrash metal. With four studio albums behind them, the band is set to release their fifth album, Serpents Unleashed.
As with previous Skeletonwitch releases, the album contains its pros and cons. While there is not much to complain about, the biggest con with Serpents Unleashed is that there isn’t much musical variation throughout the album. Most songs sound very much alike. It’s a shame really, because Skeletonwitch undoubtedly show that they are capable of such variation. In the track “Blade on the Flesh, Blood on my Hands,” for example, there is a brief instrumental section that is noticeably different from the rest of the song, and yet the moment is so subtle and short that it fails to be prominent.
That said, the musical similarities in the songs aren’t enough to make the release disappointing. This can be attributed to their sound being so pleasing to begin with. The fast picked guitars, aggressive black metal vocals and double bass action is a deadly combination that makes for a good listen. The strongest track on here is perhaps the last one, “More Cruel than Weak,” which starts off with a soothing clean guitar intro before leading into furious blackened thrash metal. Another memorable song is “Beneath Dead Leaves,” which contains a ripping guitar solo and catchy riffing.
In summary, Skeletonwitch have been successful in adding yet another gem to their discography. Their creative blend of metal’s best subgenres make this an enjoyable release and one worth picking up. In fact, as far as thrash albums go, this is likely to be the best one of 2013.