Reviewed: October 2004
Released: 2004, Shredded Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Ohio natives, Skeletonwitch (brilliant name by the way), came cold-calling to Metal Rules headquarters and I was fortunate enough to be sent their debut CD, AT ONE WITH THE SHADOWS. The band plays a mix of power/thrash, but vocalist Chance Garnette takes on a black metal screech (it almost borders on screamo), leaving the lyrics impossible to understand which is a shame because with cool song titles like “The Skullsplitter” and “Every Rotten Corpse Shall Burn,” I want to hear the sordid details! The production of AT ONE WITH THE SHADOWS is extremely low-budget which does take away some of the punch that these songs could have. The sound is very narrow and lacks any expansiveness whatsoever. It’s almost like an old mono recording. Those complaints aside, Skeletonwitch has delivered a mighty fine debut here that is not reinventing the wheel, but still packs quite a wallop.
“The Skullsplitter” is filled with melodic riffing and tasty licks. The acoustic outro really shakes up the impression of the rest of the track, too. The two guitarists in this band (Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick) really can wail on their instruments and drop solos aplenty here that clearly hearken back to the metal of yesteryear without sounding like they are trying to be “retro cool.” “Every Rotten Corpse Shall Burn” is the perfect example of this as Garnette and Hedrick swirl around each other with such melodic bliss that legends of metal like Downing and Tipton would be proud. “Vengeance Will Be Mine” features an amazing solo and the early sounds of Iron Maiden are revisited on “Within My Blood.”
The cover art is also worth mentioning because it is quite exceptional for a new band on a small local label. The colors are good and Kari Christensen should be given a pat on the back for creating such a striking piece for the band.
Skeletonwitch was a pleasant surprise for me. AT ONE WITH THE SHADOWS is a solid offering from this new band and if they can secure themselves a larger recording budget for album number two, they should do well for themselves. They may want to look at mixing up the vocal style, though, as Garnette’s raspy screams do not vary whatsoever and tend to become a bit grating by the end of the CD.
KILLER KUTS: “The Skullsplitter,” “Every Rotten Corpse Shall Burn”
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