Released: 2017, Hells Headbangers Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Skelethal's first full-length album, "Of the Depths..." brings us 46 minutes of death metal. Despite the review below, that's about all you need to know; a simple description for a simple album, and neither particularly satisfying.
The presiding problem here is that this is nothing we haven't heard a hundred times before, nothing we haven't heard for 25 years, nothing we haven't heard done better. It's not truly bad, there are certainly worse-sounding and less competent albums, but it disappears within the mire of its own rotten sound. Any impact it makes is lost within minutes, like a swamp reforming around a footprint. The drums, vocals, guitars, bass, none of it does anything Possessed, Death or Morbid Angel weren't doing decades ago.
Of course, it isn't fair to dismiss an album just because it isn't doing something truly ground-breaking or revolutionary. But even doing something done before, you can at least try to make it memorable. The style Skelethal employ relies purely on sheer brutality of sound, and unfortunately that isn't something that lends itself to memorability unless it goes to new extremes, which this doesn't. "Catharsis" is a fine example; it's just 2 minutes of raw brutality for brutality's sake, and just ends up forgotten. It doesn't add anything to the album or the genre as a whole. It's bog-standard, bargain basement death metal.
This isn’t to say it’s entirely without (unfortunately brief) highlights. The closing section of “Outer Convictions” whips out a punk beat that just begs to be moshed to. "Morbid Ovation" (which I repeatedly misread as "Morbid Ovulation", and I kind of wish it were called that) has a nice explosive solo, though it's over all too soon. "Chaotic Deviance" has a good solid rhythm going at the start before it descends into the usual blasts, as does opener "Sons of Zann" in the early minutes. In fact a lot of the songs start with something that has some promise, but this is dropped to descend into the same old tired tropes. They've got energy, I'll give them that, and the album definitely manages an atmosphere of chaotic darkness. But they really need to do something more interesting with it. If I'm after Lovecraftian darkness, I'm more likely to turn to Tyranny, Bal-Sagoth or Sulphur Aeon.
These guys obviously have a passion for death metal, and they're not really bad at it. But at the same time, I can't say any of this was really enjoyable. If you're a big fan of this style I don't think you'll find much really wrong about this album. But I've also no doubt there are others, new and old, doing the exact same thing and doing it better.