In the vast world of horror film history, there seems to be one constant: no matter how many times you try, no matter what the fuck you do…you can’t kill the goddamn monster. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Leatherface had the misfortune of having Dennis Hopper’s buzzing saw shoved into his guts, and the dead skin mask-wearing bastard still had the drive to come back for (less awesome) sequels. Jason Voorhees loved Camp Crystal Lake so much, the guy literally went to Hell and back via various gruesome executions to prove his affection for the apparently jinxed shithole. Dude even went so far as to fight the one and only Freddy Krueger at one point to show how big his worm-filled balls were always gonna be! What about Michael Myers? Don’t get me wrong, Halloween is most definitely my favorite holiday, for a lot of reasons. But that guy surely blows shit outta proportion! I was never a big fan of babysitters either, but ruining the best holiday ever by killing all of ‘em, and being repeatedly “killed” yourself, hardly seems like the way to go. The list goes on, and in most cases, you just can’t keep the bad guys down. The same can be said for pretty much all forms of extreme music (except for “pirate metal“, of course). Which brings us to the subject at hand…
Ohio-based blackened thrash hell-raisers Skeletonwitch have been tearing shit up like the Tall Man since 2003, and the gruesome body count has continued to rise over the past several years. They can count the likes of Rob Halford and Glenn Danzig among their fans, the latter having handpicked the ‘witch for the 2008 run of his Blackest of the Black tour. Their break-through release, 2007’s Beyond the Permafrost, garnered truckloads of horns and praise from the metal masses, like so many riff-starved demons from the grave, and featured brain-smashing cover art by John Baizley of Baroness. The band has recently welcomed the new addition to the horde, in the form of Demiricous drummer, Dustin Boltjes. In October of this year, Skeletonwitch once again returned to wreak bloody havoc on helpless souls with their fourth full-length effort, Forever Abomination (Prosthetic Records).
While the band had already hacked their way deep into the brains of the metal crowd with the razor-sharp edge of previous efforts, the Matt Hyde (Slayer, Monster Magnet)-produced Forever Abomination takes the massacre a few steps further into Skeletonwitch brand of annihilation. One hell of a beast, constructed from equal parts catchiness and technical attack, the record features some of the band’s best material to date, overall. The acoustic introduction of “This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)” opens the door gracefully for the listener before the true slaughter begins. Noticeable from the start, is the fact that vocalist Chance Garnette’s demon-screech unleashing tales of death and Hell’s fury is stronger in the mix than before, compared to Beyond The Permafrost, for example. In the realm of the riffs, Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick have unleashed the hounds on us all. Seamlessly meshing the influences of the likes of Iron Maiden and King Diamond-style soloing, there’s simply no time set aside, throughout the whole record, for one to catch a breath. “Reduced to the Failure of Prayer” is a fine example of that concept, as it is the kind of break-neck whirlwind Skeletonwitch fans should be familiar with, only now, the knobs aren’t just turned up all the way…they’re broken clean off. The pummeling assault of “Shredding Sacred Flesh” is just one of countless examples on Forever Abomination, where Boltjes once again displays his searing might behind the kit.
So, what we have here, die-hard readers, is a no-bullshit, eleven-track, ear drum killing-spree sure to leave the listener either trembling in their boots, begging for more…or both. With Forever Abomination, Skeletonwitch have not just proven to us all how many hooks they possess, they have showed us straight and to-the-point what it’s like to be blissfully thrust upon them with horns raised to the crumbling heavens. That being said, only one question remains: how long until another sequel?