Release DetailsLABEL Prosthetic
RELEASED ON 10/2/2007
Beyond The Permafrost
posted on 2/2008 By:
Skeletonwitch seem to be making a small dent in the metal world, at least with their late 2007 release, Beyond the Permafrost, on Prosthetic Records. Of course this interest in Skeletonwitch comes hand in hand with the renewed interest many metal (and non-metal) fans seem to have in both traditional and thrash metal as of late.
Skeletonwitch perform a noble job of melding traditional heavy metal and thrash metal with modern sensibilities. This modernization comes with predominantly harsh vocals, but also in moments that remind one of melodic death metal ("Baptized in Flames") as well as black metal, including some tremolo riffing. While Skeletonwitch can be seen as a throwback of sorts, there are times when one gets the sense that even the more traditional, old school moments have, in some way, been influenced by modern bands, such as 3 Inches of Blood.
The goal for Skeletonwitch on Beyond the Permafrost seems to have been to simply create a heavy metal album, nothing new, but something that would get the head moving and the fist banging. The album forgoes long build ups, time changes, interludes, and pretty much any soft sections to just come at the listener full force. Stronger evidence could not be seen than in opening track, "Upon Wings of Black", which sees no build up, but a straight kick in the pants, even throwing in a quick lead right before the vocals kick in. From there different ideas and approaches continually get thrown at the listener, from the aforementioned melodic death metal that permeates "Baptized in Flames" to some interesting dual guitar work that shows up early in "Vengeance Will Be Mind" until the band slowly seems to steep themselves more and more into a black metal oriented sound ("Limb from Limb", sections of "Cast Into the Open Sea"). Then by "Fire From the Sky" there’s definitely a whiff of 3 Inches of Blood at least until a minute in when things get a bit more extreme with some faster, and heavier, sections.
While Skeletonwitch creates some great straightforward metal that may not be life changing, many will be turned off by outside factors: the record label, the band’s look, or the rather colorful cover art, which all seems to have created an equation for some people that adds up to insincerity and the dreaded "hipster" tag. It’s a sad situation when nearly every band that creates a tried and true heavy metal album, with good songs, and does so with an unquestionable amount of honesty gets torn down before they’ve even had a chance to really say anything.
Skeletonwitch, like many bands, won’t redefine your playlist but they are creating music that, when given a chance, sounds honest and well meant. While Beyond the Permafrost didn’t set my stereo on fire, it is an album I’ve come back to here and there, simply because the music is fun and there’s enough variety that no one should be left disappointed.
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