Remember when thrash metal didn't have to be deadly serious all the time? If like me you yearn for the days of party-time bands like Exodus, you need to get in here. Skeletor (nuff' said with that name), including self-described Paul Baloff worshiper Bram Peters, are here to drink cheap beer and thrash your face off.
From the 80's cartoon throwback artwork to the tongue-in-cheek silliness of the opening title track, Bastards of the Universe wastes no time sharing its familiarity with the "Toxic Waltz," and all that it entails. With titles like "The Clit Commander" and "Humans from Planet Earth," Skeletor forgo every possible ounce of pretension. I suppose there could be social commentary here; but if so, this is The Daily Show to Lamb of God's FOX News. If that wasn't enough goofiness for you, the additions of retro gaming sounds should do the trick.
While Baloff does come through in a lot of the vocals, there are also some death grunts a la Living Sacrifice and almost glam metal backups. The inclusion of simple choruses with memorable lyrics is ripe for audience participation. And though there is a joviality to each song, the riffs are as close to “down to business” as we get. Aside from obvious influences of everything from Anthrax to Pantera, those who listened to the latest Profanator album we shared will find familiarity as well. Tracks like "Skeletor" prove that it takes less than 2 minutes to show face-melting potential.
But thrash isn't the only interest of Bastards of the Universe. Some of the more mid-paced tracks like "Enter the Dragon" and "Left Behind to Rot" show plenty of groove metal and straight death metal in their colors. The lyrics of the latter follow suit with gory, yet hilarious, lines that I could not get out of my head. "Vultures to pick your bones dry! Leeches to suck your blood! Maggots to eat your brains out! Left behind to rot!" Cue solo. Ticket to next show please.
All said and done, I think there is a future for a band like Skeletor. The EP is occasionally rough around the edges, but mostly I found it very enjoyable and full of expandable ideas. After spending so much time in the cold abyss of black and atmospheric death metal, it is always nice to just bang my head to. Time for another shot. 5 Euro on bandcamp