Released: 2016, Hells Headbangers
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Shed the Skin’s lineup reads like a “who’s who” of the Ohio death metal scene. Featuring current and former members of Estuary, Incantation, Acheron, Ringworm, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that their HARROWING FAITH debut is a totally sick slab of blasphemous, mid-western death metal.
The band’s bio makes the point to call out that HARROWING FAITH “does not bow to any one era, school, or region…” There’s definitely more traditional, blue collar death metal at the rotten soul of this beast, but the 12 tracks do a fine job of keeping things interesting without sacrificing any of the intended brutality. Opening with the ominous piano tinged “Plasmic Flames” intro, the band gets straight to business and rips through “Daimonic Adytum” and the title track in rapid succession. “Unbound Revenant” and “Cambion” spin the wheels of doom, delivering mid-tempo, Incantation-esque slogs, while “Warband Under the Baphomet” has some thrashier elements with its twin guitar runs. HARROWING FAITH clips by at a pretty loose pace, and makes the point of throwing as many punches as it can with the time it’s been allotted.
There’s nothing inherently special or different with the type of death metal that Shed the Skin purvey, it’s more a matter of what they do with those resources. But the combination of ugly production values, sinister riffs, and just a total lack of pretense together make for a pretty convincing package. And being a part of the Hells Headbangers family doesn’t hurt either; Shed the Skin’s brand of papacy defiling death metal is the perfect addition to their roster.