Released: 2017, Shinigami Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Sometimes you really can't judge a book by its cover – or, this case, a band by its name and album title. I had Brazil's Skinlepsy pegged as brutal death metal by their rather icky sounding name alone. The title of their second album, Dissolved, not to mention its nightmarish cover art, certainly fit the bill as well.
So imagine my surprise when, after some creepy jungle percussion and heavy breathing, the band rip into “Perfect Plan” and deliver what is essentially Exodus/Testament-style thrash metal. The chugging, churning riffs, galloping drums and gang-barked choruses – not to mention the clean, yet mean production – are a far cry from the gurgle and puke-flecked lurch and grind I'd gotten ready for.
Not that I'm complaining. And if I'd just done a little bit of research, I could have spared myself the erroneous assumption. My bad. But instead of focusing on what Skinlepsy is not, let's talk about what they are: a pretty formidable trio who actually take the aforementioned old school Bay Area sound of “Perfect Plan” and give it something of a death metal going over that at times recalls their countrymen Krisiun the rest of the way.
Technical flourishes, snub-nosed brutality and some occasional surprising catchiness – as on the fantastically hooky “The Hate Remains The Same” - are all in play here, and are delivered with an evenhanded mix of aggression and finesse. The Latin rhythm that kicks off the title track is a cool, if inevitable – these guys are Brazilian after all – addition, but it's a quick tease before things grow dramatically more intense and surging grooves take over.
Dissolved takes on more of a death metal air the farther it moves along – especially after “The Hate Remains The Same” - as the riffs grow more tangled, the tempos build and the agitation in guitarist André Gubber's already caustic vocals gets that much more pronounced. That is until the very end, with a re-recording version of “Murder” from Siegrid Ingrid, a group Gubber and drummer Evandro Junior played in during the '90s.
It circles back to the classic thrash that kicked off the album and makes for an enjoyably moshable finale. It's about the last thing I was expected when I first gave Dissolved a spin, but I'll gladly take it nonetheless.