Those familiar with the New York-based American brutal death metal act Skinless know of their numerous achievements in the world of their genre. Since their early 1990s formation, the band have released six full-length albums as well as multiple splits, demos & EPs to boot. Sadly, they disbanded in 2011...or so we thought. Skinless made a return in 2013 as a five piece and today they release their sixth and latest full length, Savagery.
Unveiled through the band's current label Relapse Records, Savagery brings in several elements of death metal (both oldschool and new) that blend together to make a nostalgic yet modern experience. The album features nine tracks filled with nearly 37 minutes of tasty brutal death content on digital, CD, and 12'' vinyl record.
As mentioned, Savagery includes nostalgic odes to older death metal material as well as sections reminiscient of newer bands currently at the top of their game. It is well recorded and mastered, with no major hiccups to make note of in the listening experience. It starts off with an OSDM track with riffs similar to the band's older material. True to form, the music is still fast paced and as brutal as ever. But the influences expand past the intro track, with a slamming outro on 'Siege Engine' that gives off Dying Fetus vibes, and a few later tracks that feature droning intros (one or two with samples). The song 'Medieval' gives off some Nile feels with its catchy melodies and stellar speed in both riffing and blast-beat drumming alike. The vocals are pretty engaging for the most part as well. Savagery closes off nicely with 'Cruel Blade of the Guillotine', which includes a softer buildup to the brutal death madness and an instrumental finale that brings everything to a strong finish.
Despite my praise, there were a few little issues I had here and there. Mostly I felt as though the vocals were a bit underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, when they're present they're most definitely powerful. I just felt like there could've been a little bit more done with them. I also didn't care for the intermission instrumental track that comes in between tracks 3 & 5. I didn't hate it, I just felt as though it was not needed there.
I ultimately enjoyed this album and found it fairly entertaining aside from some minor flaws. Savagery is a decent return to form for brutal death longtimers Skinless due to its mixture of nostalgic and newschool sounds, stellar riffs, and shifting patterns. High points such as 'Siege Engine' and 'Medieval' demonstrate the band's best abilities and talents. This is a comeback release that you don't want to miss out on.
Fave Tracks: 'Siege Engine', 'Medieval', 'Cruel Blade of the Guillotine'
For Fans Of: Aborted, Dying Fetus, Dehumanized
**This release is available now on Bandcamp and Relapse Records' online store here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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