Released: 2009, Stand and Deliver Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
San Francisco, California's Skinlab offer up their fourth full-length record via Stand and Deliver Records with THE SCARS BETWEEN US. The current incarnation of these Bay Area groove metallers features current and former members of Skrew, Defiance and Exodus within their ranks.
"Face of Aggression" begins THE SCARS BETWEEN US and mixes throaty vocals against a backdrop of pulsing drums that sound a tad industrialized and simple, yet effective caveman like guitar parts. "Amphetamine Gods" the second track on THE SCARS BETWEEN US, lives up to it's name, in the sense that it's the most manic and frantic of the eleven new songs on the record. Double bass-drum heavy and blasting schizophrenically at the end, this track stands out at least tempo wise from the rest of the CD.
"Karma Burns" is dirging, doomy and decrepit. I could imagine this being a favorite amongst tattoo artists, dope-heads and street punks, but then again... that would be stereotyping. Both "Paper Trails" and "Scream At The World" play off of primitive and beefy riff structures and really, the strength of the rhythm section comprised of bassist and vocalist Steev Esquivel and drummer Paul Hopkins. The guitars on THE SCARS BETWEEN US really act as more of an accompaniment, taking a backseat in favor of thumpy and plodding songs of desolate despair.
Overall, this release is consistent in mood and presentation. The eleven tracks play off each other nicely when taken as a whole. Taken out of that context however will leave much to be desired. The guitars are less than flashy, even dull at times and the throaty metalcore vocals at times make this release sound pretty dated. (Ripping off Phil Anselmo is soooo 1998...)If you are a die-hard Skinlab fan, then this release could be a grower. Other than that I really can't see too much appeal for newcomers on this release.